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Can the Liver Be Repaired Once It Is Damaged?
April 29, 2022 11:33 AM
https://vitamins.vitanetonline.com/wp-content/uploads/liver-2934612_1920.png The liver is a vital organ in the body that performs many essential functions. It can be damaged by a variety of factors, including disease, alcohol abuse, and exposure to toxic chemicals. Once the liver is damaged, can it be repaired? In this article, we will explore the answer to that question. We will also discuss the various ways that the liver can be damaged and how those damages can be repaired.
What is the liver and what does it do?
The liver is a large, multi-functional organ that plays a vital role in the body. Its primary function is to filter the blood and remove toxins, but it also helps to regulate metabolism, store nutrients, and produce bile. The liver is divided into two main lobes, the right lobe and the left lobe. The right lobe is slightly larger than the left lobe and includes the quadrate lobe and caudate lobe. The left lobe contains the left lateral section and the medial section. The hepatic veins drain blood from the liver and pass it through the inferior vena cava to be returned to the heart. The hepatic arteries supply oxygenated blood to the liver tissue, while the portal vein carries nutrient-rich blood from the digestive organs. The bile ducts transport bile produced by the liver cells to the gallbladder, where it is stored until needed for digestion.
The liver is a hardworking organ that performs many crucial functions in the body. By keeping it healthy, we can help to ensure that our entire body remains healthy and functioning properly.
What can damage the liver and how does that damage occur?
The liver is a vital organ that performs many important functions, such as filtering toxins from the blood and producing bile to help digest fats. However, the liver can be damaged by a number of different agents, including viruses, alcohol, and certain medications. Viruses such as hepatitis C and hepatitis B can cause inflammation of the liver, which can lead to scarring and eventually to liver failure. Alcohol abuse is also a major cause of liver damage, as it can lead to fatty deposits, inflammation, and scarring. In addition, certain drugs (such as acetaminophen) can cause toxic damage to the liver cells. If the liver is not functioning properly, it can result in a build-up of toxins in the blood, which can lead to serious health problems.
Can the liver be repaired once it is damaged, and if so, how is that done?
The liver is a amazing organ. It is responsible for so many important functions in the body, from filtering toxins to producing bile to breaking down fats. When it is damaged, it can often repair itself. This is because the liver has a high regenerative capacity. hepatocytes, which are the main type of liver cell, can divide and grow back quickly when necessary. In fact, as long as about 25% of the liver remains healthy, it can regenerate itself completely over the course of a few weeks. There are a number of ways to damage the liver, such as through alcohol abuse or viral infections, but fortunately there are also ways to help it repair itself. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and avoiding toxins, take liver supporting supplements like milk thistle and NAC can all support liver health and regeneration.
How can people prevent their livers from being damaged in the first place?
The liver is a vital organ that plays an important role in metabolism. However, the liver can also be easily damaged by alcohol, drugs, prescriptions, and environmental toxins, which are in the foods we eat. To help prevent liver damage, it is important to avoid excess alcohol consumption or avoid it all together, take medication as directed and if you are on medications that cause liver damage to discuss alternatives that do not harm the liver, and eat a healthy diet along with taking liver supporting supplements. Additionally, it is important to get regular exercise, as this helps to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly. By taking these steps, people can help to prevent liver damage and keep their organs healthy.
Are there any lifestyle changes or supplements that can help improve liver function even if it has been damaged already?
Liver damage is a serious concern for many people, as it can lead to a number of health problems. While there is no guaranteed way to reverse liver damage, there are some lifestyle changes and supplements that may help improve liver function. One potential change is to limit alcohol consumption, as alcohol is known to be damaging to the liver, mixing alchol and drugs can enhance the progress of liver damage. Additionally, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help improve overall liver function. There are also a number of herbal supplements that are thought to be beneficial for the liver, such as milk thistle and dandelion root. However, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement, as some may interact with other medications.
What are the possible consequences of not repairing a damaged liver?
Liver damage can have serious consequences if left untreated. Depending on the cause, there may be a variety of negative effects that result from an injured liver. For example, if the damage is due to excessive alcohol consumption, then scarring and inflammation of the liver tissue can interfere with its ability to filter toxins out of the blood. This can lead to a host of potentially dangerous health problems, including nausea, chronic fatigue, jaundice, and cirrhosis. You must address the cause before change for the good can happen. In addition, unresolved inflammation can increase one's risk of developing more serious conditions such as cancer or heart disease. To prevent these possible consequences, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after suffering from liver damage. This will allow doctors to properly diagnose the issue and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Addressing the cause is always preferable over simply treating symptoms alone. Ultimately, taking action now can help you protect your health in the future.
How can people find out if their livers need repair and where they should go for help if that is the case?
When it comes to liver health, there are a number of ways to find out if your liver needs some repairs. One method is to get tested for elevated liver enzymes, which are indicative of problems with the organ. You can also watch out for certain symptoms, such as fatigue, bloating or skin discoloration. If you notice any of these markers, you may want to consult with your doctor or a specialist in liver disease, who can help determine the best course of action. Depending on the underlying cause of your liver problem, treatment options may include changes to your diet and exercise habits, medications or even surgery in extreme cases. Whatever route you choose, it is essential that you address any issues with your liver as soon as possible in order to protect your overall wellbeing.
Generally, symptoms only show when liver function has dropped significantly.
Liver damage can often go undetected until it has reached a advanced stage. This is because the liver has an incredible capacity for regeneration and can continue to function even when up to 75% of it has been damaged. As a result, symptoms of liver disease often only become apparent when the organ has been severely compromised. By that point, the damage may be irreversible and serious complications may have developed. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the early signs of liver damage so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. These include fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Fortunately, Supplements like Milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair.
The liver is a hardworking organ that is constantly exposed to toxins. As a result, it is susceptible to damage. Fortunately, supplements like milk thistle and NAC may help the body assist the liver in its repair. Milk thistle contains silymarin, a compound that helps to protect the liver from damage. NAC is an amino acid that helps to remove toxins from the liver. NAC also helps to replenish glutathione, a substance that plays a key role in liver detoxification. Together, these supplements can help to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.
Whether you are looking for preventative measures to protect the liver or have an existing issue, it can never hurt to take either milk thistle, NAC, or both to support healthy liver function.
5 Important Minerals and Vitamins all Crossfitters Need to beEating
November 10, 2018 09:51 AM
If you are someone who exercises a lot, or participates in CrossFit, then you must know how important your diet is. Too many people disregard their diet and do not think anything of it long term. It is something that can really affect the way that people live their life for a variety of different reasons. You are the only one who controls what goes into your bodies. Therefore, these minerals and vitamins are so important for active individuals.
"Vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system, assist the rate at which we can absorb iron and is an important antioxidant that regenerates other antioxidants within the body."
Read more: https://www.boxrox.com/minerals-vitamins-crossfitters-need-to-be-eating/
I Did Not Think That Folic Acid, Something They Only Prescribe To Pregnant Women, Was So Beneficial
October 17, 2017 12:14 PM
It has been a common practice that folic acid is highly recommended by the doctors to pregnant women. However, the application of folic acid should not be limited to the pregnant women, and everyone could benefit from taking folic acid. One could obtain folic acid from legumes, grain, fruits, whole grain, vegetables with dark or green leaves, meat of poultry and pork, liver, etc. The Vitamin B9 could help generate red blood cell, DNA, tissue growth, new cells, body break down, reduce suffering from heart disease, etc.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tn71qsb1CxM&rel=0
"Vitamin B9 plays a role in the synthesis of blood cells such as platelets, leukocytes, and erythrocytes."
The Best Natural Treatments And Medicinal Plants For Liver Detoxification
August 06, 2017 09:14 AM
There are some great natural treatments and medicinal plants for liver detoxification. The liver is a very vital organ and it detoxifies your entire body. It synthesizes proteins and removes blood waste and it is responsible for the metabolism as well as the immune system. It also is responsible for processing all sorts of toxic substances. The good news is that the liver is actually the only organ that has the ability to regenerate and can function even when it is affected in a proportion of 80 to 90 percent.
"The good news is that the liver is the only organ that has the ability to regenerate and can function even when it is affected in a proportion of 80-90%."
Read more: https://www.healththoroughfare.com/medicine/best-natural-treatments-medicinal-plants-liver-detoxification/1142
Maintain Healthy Skin: Collagen Boosting Foods
March 28, 2017 11:44 AM
Collagen is a nutrient that is vital to a youthful appearance. It provides a variety of functions that keep the system in top shape. Production of collagen slows with the aging process but there are ways to avoid this process for a while. Eating foods that are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Omega 3 are very important for the production of collagen. Read this article for more details along information about foods that are rich in these nutrients.
"There are plenty of collagen supplements available, but everyone should strive to get all the nutrients the body needs through a healthy diet first and use supplements for their intended purpose—to supplement a healthy diet."
Read more: http://masterherald.com/maintain-healthy-skin-collagen-boosting-foods/54623/
Synthetic stem cells to regenerate heart tissue
January 06, 2017 10:59 AM
Would you trust science enough to allow them to put synthetic stem cells into your body, organs or even your heart? That's just what American and Chinese researchers have developed. There has been great success with STEM cells but what about synthetic cells, well the scientists have shown that with synthetic cells they can pass immune rejection and tumor growth. They also can't amplify themselves so there is no similar risk as there is with STEM cell transplant.
"American and Chinese researchers have developed synthetic cardiac stem cells that could have the same therapeutic impact as human stem cells, with the added benefit of reducing the risk of graft rejection in cellular therapy."
Are You Looking For Dry Eye Relief?
Your answer is the use of Omega-7 that is usually found in sea buckthorn oil. About 50% of this rare form of fatty acids is found in the famous sea buckthorn oil. You can also get about 30% of this fatty acid in macadamia nut. As you get older, your eye’s moisture level reduces. Also, changes like allergies, long hours at your computer, prescription drugs and wind can cause eye dryness. Irrespective of the cause, you need to get a solution as fast as possible. Use of sea buckthorn oil will help heal eye dryness as explained below.
This incredible oil is not only an immune system modulator, an antioxidant, or an anti-inflammatory, but it also strengthens your cardiovascular system. Moreover, it ensures that your mucous membrane tissue is able to effectively regenerate.
This oil has effective fatty acids that reduce any of your eye inflammation and greatly increases your tear secretion. With little tears and inflammation in your eyes, you are likely to have serious eye dryness and redness. This oil will help eliminate these symptoms.
Also, if you have an anomalous tear film, it may cause very quick evaporation of your eye moisture. The fatty acids in this famous sea buckthorn oil help build the entire composition and quality of your tear film. Increased lipid content in your tear film will help prevent moisture and water loss from your eyes. This also heals dryness.
The Omega-7 fatty acids that are found immensely in this oil can help the cells of your eyes to retain moisture. Having enough moisture will stop eye dryness. Also, the oil is rich in vitamins E and C. These two are great antioxidants and will protect your eyes from any form of oxidative damage.
It is recommended that you use about two grams of sea buckthorn oil daily to relieve dry eye symptoms like burning, redness, and dryness in general. You don’t have to suffer, at least now you have a lasting and natural solution to your dry eyes. The oil will leave your eyes feeling rested, fresh and most of all very healthy.
Natural foods for liver repair and liver cleansing
November 08, 2016 05:09 PM
The human liver is a fat-burning organ and is designed to cleanse toxins and dead cells from the body. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, you could be at risk to contract liver-related diseases including fatty liver, hepatitis, and autoimmune disorders. For optimal liver function and overall longevity, be sure to consume foods that support the liver’s ability to cleanse toxins from the body. These include garlic, leafy greens, avocados, and apples, to name a few. Conversely, avoid substances that are bad for the liver such as antibiotic-fed meats, artificial sweeteners, and salty foods.
"Sulfur is required to increase enzyme activity that boosts liver cleansing."
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has many different healing benefits, but is primarily known for the effects it has on the skin.
These all help to cleanse a wound, relieve pain and inflammation and ultimately heal the wound. It has been used on the skin for sunburns, cuts, eczema, poison ivy, insect bites, acne, chicken pox, hives, radiation and other burns. An aloe vera plant can actual heal itself.
It has a growth stimulator, which helps to regenerate new tissue. If you cut part of the leaf from the plant, it doesn't take long before you will see a thin barrier forming, thus healing itself.
The anti inflammatory properties of A.V. have been used to help with arthritis and joint related problems, inflamed muscles, inflamed intestinal and bowel disorders such as IBS, ulcers, Crohn's disease, hemorrhoids, colitis and more.
Aloe vera has a soothing and alkalizing effect on the inside of the body helping people with over acidity, heartburn, ulcers, intestinal and digestive disorders as previously mentioned.
It has also been know to increase protein absorption, regulate blood sugar levels, support the immune system and even help with low energy and chronic fatigue.
What is stopping you from taking aloe daily?
Maitake Mushrooms - Eating your Way to Health
October 25, 2013 07:36 PM
In a world full of processed drugs and foods, the possibilities of getting a viable natural remedy for an ailment have decreased exponentially. As the society as a whole becomes more concerned with the safety and nutritional value of the foods they eat, the need for a food that kills more than two birds with a single stone is one that cannot be outdueled. Currently, one of the best foods of choice out there is the Maitake mushroom.
Where is maitake mushroom came from
The Maitake is an edible mushroom native to the northeastern Japan Mountains. This mushroom contains the maitake D-fraction, a compound that exists in our bodies in a form referred to as beta-glucan. Since this component plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s homeostatic levels and hindering the development of some detrimental medical conditions, increasing its concentrations in our bodies increases our chances of living a longer and healthier life.
Components of maitake
Research has proven that the active component in the Maitake mushroom inhibits the growth of cancerous cells. It also boosts our immune system by stimulating the production of neutrophils, T-cells and white blood cells. This is achieved by the catalytic effect of the polysaccharide fibers it contains hence increasing the rate at which your immunity system regenerates and how strong it can stand in time of an infection.
Benefits of maitake mushroom
Other uses of the maitake extract include treating high blood sugar levels, combating hypertension, accelerating weight loss, lowering cholesterol levels in the body and supplying us with the trace elements our bodies need to function optimally.
Even though most of these research results are from tests that have not yet been rigorously verified on human beings to prove their effectiveness, there is nothing to be afraid of since eating this mushroom will leave you with no negative side effects.
Currently, we can reap of this mushroom’s healing and health boost powers by either directly eating it or by taking the maitake D-fraction as a dietary supplement. The last option is more viable to people who do not have access to the mushroom in its original form.
What Are The Benefits Of Pure Hempseed Oil?
March 18, 2013 04:40 PM
Hempseed oil is oil that is obtained from hemp seeds. Unrefined Hempseed oil that is cold pressed is green in color and dark to clear light. It also has a nutty pleasant flavor. If the Hempseed oil has a dark the color then the flavor becomes more grassier. Refined hemp oil is colorless and clear with little flavor. It lacks antioxidants and natural vitamins.
Refined Hempseed oil is used primarily to manufacture products of body care. Industrial Hempseed oil is used to produce paints, lubricants, inks, plastic and fuel. This oil has also found some limited use in industries that produce shampoos, detergents and soaps.
Hempseed has had a good relationship with humanity.
Hempseed high in fatty acids
Studies that have been conducted recently shows that it contains essential fatty acids and amino acids that are necessary for human life. It also has a rare protein referred to as globule Edestins that is similar to Globin that is fond in blood plasma of humans.
Pure Hempseed oil has high nutritional value because it consist 1:3 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids .This ratio matches with the balance that human body requires. In recent years, it has received attention as possible feed stock for large scale production of bio-diesel. This oil makes incredible cosmetic grade oil and quality dietary oil that are superior because of its high nutritional value.
It is used also as a skin care recipes because it has base ingredients that helps the skin to regenerate and heal. Pure Hempseed oil is highly emollient and this property makes it to be used to regenerate and nourish the skin directly. Hempseed oil is capable of penetrating the skin deeply unlike other oils that sits on top of the skin. Its deep penetrative property prevent the skin from aging because it allows essential fatty acids to penetrate the outer layer of skin fully thus encouraging a healthy moisture balance.
Hempseed oil contains a rich balance of essential oils
Pure Hempseed oil contains one of the richest and balanced natural sources of essential oils that are good for human consumption. The essential fatty acids help to restore wasting bodies and also improve immune system that is damaged. It is therefore not a surprise that modern researchers have studied this oil in relation to modern immune that attacks AIDS virus.
Hempseed oil is surely nature's oil that is most balanced for human nutrition (1:3 LNA to LA ratio) and it can be digested easily. In fact, modern research indicates that this oil can provide all our essential fatty acid requirements for life.
Rich in Omega-3
This is made possible because it has a balanced 80 percent essential fatty acid content of the oil. Omega 3, a component that is found in Hempseeds helps to prevent: growth retardation, motor in coordination, tingling in legs and arms, behavioral changes, visual impairment and learning inability, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, tissue inflammation, dry skin, edema, low metabolic rate, sticky platelets and other kinds of immune dysfunctions.
Rich in Omega-6
Omega 6 a component that is also found in Hempseeds helps in preventing: loss of hair ,skin eruptions ,liver degeneration ,kidney degeneration ,behavioral disturbances, drying up of glands excessive water loss from the skin that is accompanied by thirst, failure of wound healing ,susceptibility to infections ,growth retardation sterility in males ,arthritis like conditions, miscarriage in females, circulatory and heart problems. Prolonged absence of both omega 3 and 6 in your diet can be fatal and should be avoided.
Pure Hempseed oil is is ideal to be used in mayonnaise, dips and salad dressing because of its nutty pleasant flavor .It can be taken as an additional supplement for well being and general health. However it is not suitable to be used for frying because its benefits are reduced.
Benefits of Extended Release Guggulipid
January 03, 2013 04:10 PM
Guggul is one of the holistic ancient herbal extracts derived from the Commiphora wightii plant that had been predominant in India although some parts of northern Africa and Asia still had some traces of the same. Over the years, Guggul resin gum derived from the plant has been used to promote a healthy living, and has a good number of recent scientific research findings to back it up. Some of the health benefits associated with the use of Guggulipids supplements (also known as the Guggulsterone Supplements) include lowering of Low Density Lipoproteins (Bad Cholesterol), reducing inflammation, and significantly lowering the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, tumors and cancers.
Extensive scientific research shows that Guggulipids play an important role in inhibition of its synthesis in the liver and its hydrolysis into bile salts. It also acts on the thyroid gland which in turn controls the Basal Metabolic Rate that directly relates to the rate of cholesterol catabolism in the body. Additionally, a cascade of reactions in the liver during the process of cholesterol hydrolysis down-regulates the uptake of cholesterol in the gut which ensures that the body is at a healthy blood cholesterol level.
The anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects are highly associated with the stimulation of the liver to release C-Reactive Protein. Even though the CRP protein is primarily produced by the body in response to inflammation and cell death, presence of the CRP in the blood stream prior to an acute inflammation or cell death plays an important role in toning down inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid inflammation as well as killing abnormal cells before they develop into tumors and cancerous cells.
However, Guggulsterones are rapidly regenerated in the body in the same rate that other steroid hormones are degenerated which makes the use of extended release Guggulipid supplements very essential. This makes it possible to have the body under constant supply of the component for optimal guggulsterone health benefits.
Preventive Measures for Metabolic Syndrome/ Diabetes
February 10, 2012 07:55 AM
Metabolic syndrome is a serious health problem associated with cluster of conditions like high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, high sugar level and excessive fats in the abdomen. It increases risks of diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Having one of these conditions doesn't mean that you have metabolic syndrome. However, frequent occurrence of any of these symptoms can increase risk.
Knowing your family's medical history can prevent metabolic syndrome that can lead to diabetes. If it runs in the family, consult your doctor to have your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure checked.
Avoid high carb diet to prevent metabolic syndrome and diabetes. During digestion, carbohydrate rich foods are broken down into sugar or glucose. Glucose gives energy to the body while calorie is the measure of burned energy. When high amount of carbohydrate is digested, it increases sugar level in the blood. The brain prompts the pancreas release insulin to neutralize blood sugar level. Diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Replace high carb diet with more nutritious foods like oats, whole wheat, rye, red rice, sweet potatoes and buckwheat. They are energy giving food rich in dietary fibers. Fibers keep a healthy digestive system by improving digestion and eliminating body wastes. It maintains sexy abs by flushing out excess belly fats.
Stay physically active by engaging into sports and exercises. Inactive body does not use much energy. Unused energy is stored in the body in form of fats. Fat cells are resistant to insulin thus, increase blood sugar and cholesterol level. Fat cells slow down metabolism and increase weight gain. While lean muscles hastens metabolism even when the body is at rest. Lean muscle protects the body against insulin resistance.
Maintain a well balanced diet to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Raw fruits like oranges, berries, pineapple, grapes and other citrus fruits are good alternative for desserts like cakes. They are rich in Vitamin C that lowers cholesterol and burns fats. It is also rich in antioxidants that shield the body against harmful toxins.
Add green leafy vegetables to your diet to increase immunity from sickness like diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin E that repairs and regenerates damaged cells.
Develop a healthy sleeping pattern. Sleep disturbances and staying up late at night prompt the pancreas to continually release insulin. This creates stress on the pancreas that leads to insufficient production of insulin. A well rested mind and body keep metabolic syndrome and diabetes away.
Try natural remedies like cinnamon, pine bark, and blueberry leaf extract. Cinnamon prevents diabetes and metabolic syndrome by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level. Pine bark, when extracted produces pycnogenol that absorbs glucose in the blood. It also protects the eyes from blindness and blurred vision caused by diabetes. Blueberry leaf extract regulates blood sugar level by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.
Health supplements like chromium and alpha lipoic acid have shown great results in preventing and managing diabetes. Chromium is a mineral that metabolizes carbohydrates to prevent weight gain. It stabilizes blood sugar and prevents hypertension.
What Liver Blend Does For You
November 26, 2011 03:43 PM
Liver blend is a powerful combination of herbs that help maintain the health of your liver, help to restore it when it has been damaged by alcohols and pharmaceuticals such as acetominophen (paracetamol and Tylenol) and also detox your body, purifying the blood before it reaches the liver. Your liver is an extremely important major organ, being responsible not only for metabolizing toxins and drugs, but is also your body's chemical processing plant, manufacturing enzymes and the bile needed for effective digestion.
Liver Blend not only supports your liver, but also your gall bladder that is used to store bile and release it into the duodenum as part of your digestive process when necessary. By maintaining a healthy liver and gall bladder, and restoring the liver when damaged, Liver Blend helps you maintain a healthy digestive system and remain healthy yourself.
It is also a diuretic that promotes the urination that washes away many of the toxins that pass through the kidneys, and in so doing helps to keep your kidneys healthy. A useful side-effect is its support for your endocrine system, so in total, Liver Blends supports the liver, gall bladder and kidneys and also helps to maintain a healthy hormone system - in total, an amazing combination of healthful properties for an amazing mixture of natural herbs.
Liver Blend as a Powerful Diuretic
In addition to offering a powerful synergistic blend of substances that help detoxify your liver and protect is from damage caused by pharmaceuticals and alcohol, Liver Blend can also help your liver to regenerate and build new cells to replace those damaged by toxins. It is therefore both protective to your liver and regenerative. However, it also possesses powerful diuretic properties, largely through its flavonoid content, such as those present in the bitter oils contained in dandelion.
Burdock, too, is highly diuretic, and dandelion and burdock are frequently used together to help promote the urination that flushes toxins from your body and purifies your blood and your liver. Not only that, but dandelion contains large quantities of potassium, a mineral that can be depleted in the kidneys as they rid your body of toxins. This is restored by the dandelion in Liver Blend. Diuretics are important components of any detox program, and also essential in maintaining liver health, and Liver Blend provides a powerful mix of diuretics in the dandelion and burdock it contains.
Hyaluronic acid and your cells, eyes, and skin
December 17, 2010 10:48 AM
Discovered in 1934, hyaluronic acid can be found anywhere there is the need for connective tissue in your body. Your joints, your eyes and your heart all contain hyaluronic acid, and a shortage can lead to a wide range of bodily defects, including the appearance of accelerated aging. It is a glycosaminoglycan, a form of polysaccharide that is not only found in connective tissue and epithelial and neural cells, but is also important in the growth and renewal of body cells.
We shall discuss here how hyaluronic acid affects specific areas of your body, and what the effect of a deficiency would mean, but also keeping in mind that an excess of this polysaccharide can also have a serious impact on your health although it offers few side effects worth noting.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Joints
The highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid (HA) in your body is found in the synovial fluid, the fluid lubricating contained in your joints, and it is also plays an important role in maintaining the function of cartilage in keeping your joints flexible and well cushioned. It is chemically a glycosaminoglycan that is formed from glucosamine and glucuronic acid. Its production is boosted by chondroitin, which is why glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly used supplements for the treatment of arthritis.
Specifically, HA joins with collagen and elastin to produce cartilage, and also increases the supply of synovial fluid that maintains lubricity within the joints. Without the synovial fluid your cartilage would soon become worn away and your bones would grind together, eventually seizing up. By taking hyaluronic acid orally as a supplement, you can help to maintain healthy joints by maintaining the integrity of the cartilage and the quality of the synovial fluid.
Because the cartilage contains no blood vessels, it is reliant on the synovial fluid to keep it supplied with nutrients, and specifically with HA which is a large part of its structure. Without this important polysaccharide your body would not be able to function: no mobility, dry flaky skin and poor or no eyesight.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Skin
Hyaluronic acid occurs in the lower layers of your skin where it helps to maintain a smooth and full appearance to your skin due to its hygroscopic nature in absorbing up to a thousand times its weight of water. For this reason HA is frequently used in skin moisturizing treatments and lotions.
HA is not found inside body cells, but appears to be restricted to the extracellular regions between cells where its moisturizing properties are critical in maintaining suppleness. Elastin requires copious quantities of water to remain elastic or it would otherwise become brittle: that is why our skin looks dry and wrinkled when we age. It is due to a lack of moisture: the moisture that hyaluronic acid can bring to the table. The problem is that HA reduces with age and in order to maintain our youthful looks we have to take a supplement.
Hyaluronic acid doesn't last long in your skin: it has to be renewed constantly and each day about 50% of the HA content of your skin is lost. It takes about two weeks for the same degree of loss to occur in the synovial fluid of your joints. The look of your skin depends to a very large extent on the extracellular matrix, or what is contained between your skin cells. The more moisture there then the smoother and plumper your skin will appear.
As you age, your hyaluronic acid production drops and so your skin becomes increasingly more depleted of moisture. This causes it to dry up and wrinkle. Were there one substance that I would choose as the elixir of life it would be HA, because by taking a regular supplement your natural daily loss is replenished and your skin is given a hand to maintain its soft, moist plumpish look that helps you to keep you looking young.
Hyaluronic Acid and Your Eyes
The vitreous humor is the liquid inside your eyeball, and it contains a large amount of hyaluronic acid. It helps absorb shock and to maintain the shape of the eyeball. The HA is so important that your body has developed a special set of cells known as the hyalocytes of Balazs that are believed to promote the renewal of hyaluronic acid, and also possibly its breakdown.
There is still a lot of research going on into this but the importance of HA in the vitreous humor and other aqueous area of your body is not in question. It helps to retain water and give structure to the liquid media within your body, whether that is between the bones of your joints, in the dermal and epidermal regions of your skin to keep it supple, or in your eyeball. In fact, it is believed to take up 70% - 80% of your eye, and helps to keep the retina in place exactly where it has to be for your eyesight to work.
Because Hyaluronic acid is:
a) present between the cells in every tissues in your body, and
b) a consumable, in that it gets used up rapidly, and
c) your biochemistry's ability to regenerate it reduces with age,
a supplement is the ideal way in which to maintain its levels in your extracellular system. In some instances injections are given, particularly in expensive anti-wrinkling treatment, but studies have shown that hyaluronic acid baxyl taken as an oral supplement shows an improvement after an average of 3 months treatment.
It should be understood that the average person has around 15 grams hyaluronic acid in their body, of which 5 grams is continually degraded and synthesized daily. When you reach an age that your ability to generate HA is impaired, then an oral supplement will be less expensive than injections, the hyaluronic acid of which will also be degraded with time. It won't be long before you need more treatment, and oral supplements are less expensive than private hypodermic injections.
A Hyaluronic acid supplement baxyl can be taken to improve the suppleness and appearance of youthful skin, help maintain the integrity of your eyesight and help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and many other conditions brought on by a reduction in the synovial fluid and hydration of the skeletal and connective tissues of your body. In other words, it helps to keep you looking younger for longer and to keep your joints and your eyesight in good health.
Have you had your daily dose of hyaluronic acid today?
Baxyl is a liquid form of hyaluronic acid that is easy to take and easily assimilated into the body because its a liquid.
Glutathion, Antioxidants, And The Body
July 14, 2010 02:41 PM
Glutathione is a simple protein that consists of three amino acids. These amino acids include glutamic acid, cysteine, and glycine. Due to the chemical nature of sulphur-containing cysteine, glutathione is able to effortlessly donate electrons. This ability is the reason why it has powerful antioxidant properties. Intracellular glutathione status is a sensitive indicator of cellular health and of the cell’s ability to resist toxic challenges.
Glutathione is an important water-phase antioxidant that is an essential component in the glutathione peroxidase system. Glutathione peroxidase enzymes are crucial for detoxifying peroxides including hydrogen peroxide, which is generated within cellular membranes and lipid-dense areas of the cell, especially the mitochondrial membrane. Severe glutathione depletion often leads to cell death, while experimental glutathione depletion has been found to induce cellular apoptosis.
A cellular level of glutathione depletion seems to cause extensive damage to the mitochondria. Depletion of mitochondrial glutathione may, in fact, be the ultimate factor that determines a cell’s vulnerability to oxidative(free radical) attack. The mitochondria is the most crucial place for glutathione presence, as the cascade of oxidation-reduction reactions complete the final steps in respiration take place here. Throughout this process, which is called oxidative phophorylation, electrons invariably escape and react with the ambient oxygen in order to generate toxic free radicals. It has been estimated that 2% to 5% of the electrons that enter the mitochondria are converted into reactive oxygen species that generate considerable oxidative stress for the cell. These free radicals cause an immediate threat to other cellular components, such as the DNA, enzymes, structural proteins, and lipids.
The cumulative damage that is caused by oxygen and other free radical species is now determined to be the principal contributor to the degenerative disease process and the progressive loss of organ function that is commonly recognized as aging. Because of this, the cell is constantly challenged to destroy these free radicals before they can inflict any lasting damage. Minimizing oxidative attacks may actually be the ultimate challenge of being alive. Because of this, the reducing power of glutathione is of huge important to the cell.
Glutathione is important for helping to regenerate other antioxidants that are depleted from their constant work to fight off free radical challenges. Regeneration that is glutathione-induced may be the mechanism that is actually used by the cell in order to conserve lipid-phase antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin E, and the carotenoids. It has been confirmed by recent investigations that dietary vitamin C can actually protect us against tissue damage that results from glutathione depletion.
Additionally, supplementation with glutathione or its precursors can also quickly replenish any vitamin C deficiencies. Because of this, glutathione and ascorbic acid, both of which are pre-eminent cellular antioxidants, are tightly linked, as glutathione can conserve vitamin C and vitamin C can conserve glutathione. When they are both present, these two antioxidants protect the entire spectrum of biomolecules that are found within the cell, as well as facilitate the cell’s best performance. It has been said that the glutathione status of a cell may be the most accurate single indicator of the health of the cell. This means that as glutathione levels go, the health of the cell will go as well.
Glutathione is available in capsule or tablet form at your local or internet health food store. Always choose name brands to ensure quality and purity of the glutathione supplement you choose to purchase for consumption.
Antioxidants and your health
May 17, 2010 10:44 AM
There is an impressive amount of scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of supplementing with a wide variety of antioxidants. Consequently, there are many health practitioners who have begun to recommend high dietary intakes of these crucial nutrients in order to prevent against oxidative stress. It was anticipated over two decades ago by leading researchers that high-dose supplementation with antioxidants is developing a significant role in the prevention and treatment of a lot of today’s common illnesses. It should be noted that antioxidants do not work in isolation. When an antioxidant neutralizes a free radical, it, itself, is oxidized and must be regenerated by another antioxidant before it can be used again. Because of this, it is crucial to supplement with a wide variety of antioxidants, in order to reflect what actually occurs in nature.
Vitamin C, an aqueous-phase antioxidant, is the main guard against oxidative attack in the extra-cellular matrix, as well as within the cytoplasm of the cell. Vitamin C happens to be a substrate for eight different enzyme systems that are involved in various cellular functions. Among these functions are collagen synthesis, ATP synthesis in the mitochondria, and hormone biosynthesis. Its main antioxidant partners are vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which help to regenerate vitamin C.
Of all the antioxidants, it seems as if vitamin E offers the greatest protection against heart disease because of its ability to protect the cardiovascular system from oxidative damage. It is lipid-soluble, making it an important component of the cell membrane, where it works to protect the cell against lipid peroxidation and control oxidation-induced inflammatory events. Recently, the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E has shown a great deal of promise in its ability to reduce the risk of several oxidative stress related disease.
Beta-carotene is a member of a diverse group of photosynthetic pigments. It plays a huge role in human nutrition. As an antioxidant, it possesses a double-bond structure that allows it to react effectively with single oxygen radicals, absorbing and diffusing their energy. Beta-carotene also acts as a precursor for vitamin A by supplying a portion of the body’s requirement for the vitamin. This act alone plays a central role in the chemistry of vision. Beta-carotene and vitamin A both prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, reduce oxidative damage to DNA, and disable oxygen free radicals that are produced by exposure to sunlight and air pollution. These antioxidants are also involved in the activation of gene expression and the control of cell differentiation.
When combined together, vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene produce and important antioxidant trio that plays a huge role in fighting oxidative and inflammatory events. There are several other antioxidants that should be noted due to their ability to work synergistically with the vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene trio. These include vitamin A, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and the antioxidant mineral, selenium. In order to determine whether a nutrient provides antioxidant support, scientists question whether the product contains vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, beta-carotene, alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, coenzyme Q10, and selenium and to what strength these vitamins and minerals are per serving.
Honey And Your Health
July 02, 2009 10:59 AM
Honey is the perfect food, as it contains large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and is particularly rich in vitamins B and C. Additionally, it contains almost all vitamins of the B-complex, which are essential in the system for the digestion and metabolism of sugar. Honey is rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and silicon, just to name a few. This is especially true for the darker varieties of honey like buckwheat. Although the amount of vitamin C varies considerably depending on the source of nectar, some kinds of honey may contain as much as 300 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of honey.
Honey has been used for centuries to supply energy and rejuvenate the body. Athletes all over the world use honey in order to increase their reserve of immediate energy. Due to its balanced sugar formula, honey requires no intermediate steps for proper digestion, making a rapidly supplied source of energy. A spoonful of honey is said to pass into the bloodstream and able to produce quick energy in ten minutes. If honey is taken with a calcium supplement, the glucose provided by honey can increase the body’s uptake of calcium by almost twenty-five percent. Even though many people see honey as just another form of sugar, it has a lot of advantages over refined, white, table sugar.
One universal application of honey is its ability to promote the rapid healing of wounds. Honey is perfect for any kind of injury that involved breaking the skin, as it protects against infection and boosts the healing process. A good amount of clinical studies have found the wound healing abilities of unprocessed, with tests confirming that honey can exert a protective effect against all kinds of abscesses including gastric lesions and ulcers.
Increasing amounts of research is confirming what ancients already knew about honey: that it has an impressive, natural antibiotic and antiseptic property. Research in Nigeria found that honey does exert an antibacterial effect on certain pathogens that cause cases of diarrhea. The ability of honey to stop proliferation of infection has made it a traditional treatment for wounds. Today, honey’s antibiotic action is in the process of re-discovery in the scientific community.
Recent trials have found that honey exhibits a significant inhibitory effect on the helicobacter pylori bacteria that is thought to be one of the single most common causes of gastric ulcers. These tests determined that honey was better at stopping the action of H. pylori than several other antimicrobial agents.
Another important use of honey is to treat a whole variety of respiratory ailments. Because honey has bactericidal, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties, the body is insured an immuno-biological defense and as the capacity to regenerate cells that are attacked. Results of one study found that honey facilitated improvement in cases of chronic bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, chronic rhinitis, allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis. The report on this study concluded that treatment of non-specific disease of the air passages with honey is efficient when the right honey type and method are used. It should be noted that honey should never be used to treat any condition if there is a pre-existing sensitivity to honey. Anyone who is allergy prone should determine whether they are allergic to honey before using it therapeutically.
Honey is available in a wide range of forms including whole raw, pasteurized, and capsule forms for internal use. Look for your local or internet health food store for great name brands like Premier one and Montana big sky to ensure that you receive a quality and pure product to consume on a regular basis.
*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Honey is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.
Alpha Lipoic Acid
December 11, 2008 11:19 AM
Alpha lipoic acid is the ideal antioxidant for five main reasons. It can scavenge free radicals of all kinds of both fat and water-based cell structures. It rapidly assimilates and absorbs into cells. Alpha lipoic acid boosts the action of other protective compounds. It chelates free meal ions and it also promotes normal cell replication.
Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is both fat and water soluble, which makes it a superior free-radical scavenger because it can protect lipid (fat) and aqueous (water) cell parts from free-radical damage. This ability allows ALA to offer excellent cellular protection because it can easily transport across cell membranes and give oxidant protection outside and inside cell structures. ALA has the ability to freely move throughout all cell parts, scavenging for free radicals in a way that is definitely more effective than other antioxidant compounds. Vitamin C, for example, is a good antioxidant but is strictly water soluble and only affects the interior of cells. On the other hand, vitamin E is only fat soluble, meaning that it affects only the lipid portion of cell structures or the membrane, which leaves other areas unprotected.
Cellular glutathione, which is produced in the body and works to neutralize free radicals, is very difficult to artificially boost. Although oral glutathione supplements are available, they have to go through the GI route before they enter the blood stream, leaving little glutathione which actually survives this process. Because of this, cellular levels are not significantly increase by oral supplementation. ALA has been found to help regenerate glutathione by providing extra cellular protection.
If the body becomes deficient in ALA, other antioxidant compounds may not work well. ALA plays an important role in boosting the activity of protective compounds such as vitamin E. ALA dramatically extends the life and effectiveness of other vital compounds.
ALA has been used for decades to treat diabetic conditions and complications including diabetic neuropathy, with ALA actually having the ability to initiate a reverse in the condition in some cases. Additionally, ALA helps to boost glucose uptake and results in less insulin dependency in some cases. Among its other properties, ALA can protect brain tissue on a cellular level, as well as protect brain cells from certain hazardous chemicals.
Research has shown that ALA may even play a role in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease. As we are all aware, LDL cholesterol has a huge role in the development of cardiovascular disease. LDL cholesterol, which is particularly susceptible to free-radical damage, can be protected by ALA from free radical damage itself. Along with the above properties, ALA has been shown to help in strokes, cancer, cataracts, HIV, liver regeneration, and detoxification.
ALA can be purchased in tablet and capsule form and works well when it is orally ingested so that it can be easily assimilated through the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. Taking between 40 to 50 mg of ALA is recommended for best results. The primary applications of alpha lipoic acid are aging, aids, alcoholism, atherosclerosis, bell’s palsy, cataracts, cancer, cirrhosis, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, liver disease, radiation sickness or exposure, Alzheimer’s disease, senile dementia, stroke, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and heavy-metal poisoning. Have you had your alpha lipoic acid today?
October 11, 2008 10:26 AM
The non-essential amino acid glycine is needed to generate muscle tissue and also for the conversion of blood glucose into energy. It is referred to as being ‘non-essential’ because the body can manufacture its own glycine, and is therefore not an essential component of your diet. Other uses to which glycine is put by the body includes the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Amino acids play three essential roles in the human body:
1. They are the building blocks of proteins: proteins comprise about half of the dry weight of the majority of your body cells, and without them there would be no life. They are produced using monomers known as amino acids, and there are about 20 different amino acids used to make the vast variety of proteins that make up the human body. Proteins are needed to form enzymes, the catalysts that permit the majority of chemical reactions within our bodies, and also genes, the building blocks of DNA.
2. More relevant here, amino acids play an important role in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from ADP (adenosine diphosphate) by phosphorylation with creatine phosphate. The more creatine phosphate available, the more ATP can be produced. Since ATP is the molecule responsible for the generation of energy, then the more ATP available the more energy is generated. Although creatine is available from many food sources, it is destroyed by cooking, and over half of what you use is made from the three amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. The energy produced in this way is very short-lived, and last only a few seconds - more on that later.
3. Glycine is heavily involved in the production of collagen, which is the substance that maintains the flexibility of your skin and other connective tissues while still maintaining their strength and firmness. Without glycine your skin would become slack due to the degrading effect of sunlight, free radicals and oxidation.
The non essential amino acid, glycine, is believed to offer other benefits to the human body, but it is the second of those above, the production of ATP, which interests us here. ATP is an extremely important nanomolecule, second in importance to the body only to DNA, and possibly also RNA since the two are linked. RNA makes copies of your DNA structure for use in cell division and growth.
When a cell expends energy for whatever reason, such as when I am typing this, or when your heart beats, or even when your liver synthesizes a protein, one of the phosphate groups is removed from the adenosine triphosphate molecule, and converts it to adenosine diphosphate (ADP). The ATP is then said to be 'spent', just as your energy is spent when you are tired and can exercise no more.
The ADP is then immediately reconverted to ATP in the mitochondria, a part of every cell in your body. A cell can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of mitochondria, the number depending upon that particular cell's need for energy. Hence, cells in your muscles, or in your liver where most of the body's chemistry takes place, contain thousands of mitochondria whereas those in your scalp contain a lot less. Once changed to ATP, a phosphate is again lost when energy is expended, and so the cycle continues.
Glucose is needed allow the ADP to be converted to ATP, hence the need for sugars, or the carbohydrates from which they are manufactured in your body. Each cell can contain up to a billion molecules of ATP, although the couch potatoes among you probably have a lot less! Your store of ATP molecules last about 2 to 5 seconds before being changed to ADP although more rapidly for athletes that expend a lot of energy. Then the energy stored in the form of glycogen in the liver kicks in for another 4 - 6 seconds.
Additionally, you cannot expend more energy that the (eventual) sugars that you take in your diet, which can be in the form of ordinary 'sugar' (sucrose), fruit (fructose), glucose, carbohydrates that are metabolized into sugars, or any other member of the sugar family (e.g. lactose, maltose, etc.).
Glycine is one of what are called glucogenic amino acids, which refers to their ability to provide glucose to the blood. Because it helps to maintain proper blood glucose levels, it is often prescribed for conditions that are caused by low glucose levels, such as hypoglycemia that shows symptoms of fatigue and tiredness, and also anemia and what is known as CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The one activity of the human body, in fact that of any mammal, for which ATP is essential, is the heartbeat. Without that no mammal could survive, or any other creature that relies on a circulation system for life. The only reason you heart has to beat is to pump your blood around your body, and it is your blood that contains the oxygen and nutrients needed to sustain life. Your cardiovascular health relies on lots of ATP being available to power each and every heartbeat.
Analysis of the heart during the final stages of heart failure has revealed that there is a general decrease in the myocardial arginine: glycine amidinotraferase (AGAT) gene expression, which is indicative of the necessity of this enzyme for proper heart function. The enzyme is responsible for the first stage in the biosynthesis of creatine from glycine.
Creatine is well known to athletes, and while it is available naturally from some food sources, it can be destroyed during cooking, and at least 50% of the creatine needed by the body is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. It is creatine phosphate that is broken down into creatine and phosphate, the latter of which is used by the mitochondria to regenerate ATP from ADP.
The study carried out on the reduced AGAT levels found in heart failure patients indicates the importance of glycine to heart health. Without a good supply of glycine, there will insufficient creatine produced biochemically to generate the phosphate needed to for the ATP to produce the energy required to keep the heart pumping with the required strength. The energy provided by the mitochondria is used locally by the cells in which it is produced, and within a few seconds of that production. As explained earlier, ATP stores are used up within 2 - 5 seconds, and glycogen stores within another 4 - 6 seconds.
That is why sprinters cannot keep running at maximum speed for more than around 10 seconds or so, because the immediate availability of glycine, and hence creatine, are insufficient to last longer than that. That is one reason why they have to finish those 100 meters as fast as possible, because otherwise they would run out of energy. Other than trying to win, of course!
However, when it comes to the heart, ATP stores are essential, and the cells in your heart require a constant supply of ATP from creatine, which itself depends upon your intake or biosynthesis of glycine. Since dietary sources are insufficient to meet all your needs, and destroyed by cooking, a glycine supplement is the only way to ensure a sufficient intake. You cannot undernourish your heart and remain healthy.
ATP biosynthesis is essential if that of glycine theoretically is not, but the fact that 50% of your glycine requirement has to be produced by your body and the other 50% is sensitive to heat during cooking, a supplement of glycine could be essential to many people.
Colon Cleanse And Enema
September 08, 2008 09:49 AM
While on a colon cleanse, it is extremely important to take a daily enema, a coffee or garlic enema is suggested, but inter-changing the two may be a good idea. When coffee enemas are taken, be sure to use 8 rounded tablespoons of regular grind coffee with 2 quarts of water. Be sure to boil thoroughly or perk first. A garlic enema can be made by emptying two capsules of garlic into two quarts of warm water and mixing well. The following steps should be followed when taking an enema. First, lie on your left side and let in ½ to 1 cup of enema water. Next, massage the lower left side of your abdomen, working especially hard on any lumps or ridged areas that you may feel, as these are deposits of fecal matter. After four to five minutes of massaging, let more water in. Then, continue to massage across the abdomen and down your right side, as this is where the greatest problems occur. Make sure to be especially thorough in massaging this area. Do not retain the liquid if you feel the need to eliminate. Instead, simply start over. Most people have expelled brown or grey mucous, black fleck-like matter, parasites, and other surprising matter.
Slantboard exercises are extremely important in helping all pocketed lazy bowels and are a great help for colon problems, prolapsus, and gas. It also regenerates the vital nerve center of the brain. Most people are able to use a slantboard. However, those with high blood pressure or any other problem that would contra-indicate a slantboard exercise should not use this method. The mini trampoline is probably one of the best devices ever invented, as it can increase circulation, empty the lymph glands, exercise the heart, and increase energy. It is recommended that one jump every day while they are on a seven day cleanse.
Most individuals should stay on a colon cleanse for at least a full seven days and repeat this program twice a year. This is especially true for those who are interested in the prevention and maintenance of good health. People with chronic health problems should repeat the cleanse four times a year and also follow a building program in the meantime. Nutritionists often suggest a year round use of the bentonite, but many believe that the bentonite cleanse should be alternated with a building program that is individually designed to meet each person’s specific needs. This program should include a variety of herb formulas that will help to rebuild the colon and supplements that are specific for individual problems.
It is suggested that people cut down on processed foods such as white sugar and flour where ever possible. Also, use foods that have the least amount of chemical additives like artificial food colors and preservatives. Whenever possible, eat mainly foods that spoil because of not having added preservatives, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, use a wide variety of vegetables, raw or cooked in way that keeps in the most of the nutrition. When one does eat frozen foods, the fluid released in thawing often does have nutritional value. Make sure to avoid a steady intake of junk foods like candy and soda drinks.
Therefore, substitute natural sweets with fruit juices when you can do so. Also, exercise regularly and take into consideration your age and general health. While taking a colon cleanse, it is usually a good idea to consume only liquids for the first two – three days to help elimination. Consult your doctor if on medications so that a colon cleanse does not conflict with your medications.
August 12, 2008 01:37 PM
Vitamin C is the most widely taken nutritional supplement on the market and is available in a variety of forms, including tablets, drink mixes, crystals in capsules or bulk powdered crystals. Vitamin C is present in mother's milk and, in lower amounts, in raw cow's milk, with pasteurized milk containing only trace amounts. This vitamin is most present in the liver and least present in the muscle but needed through out the body.
Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, skin, and bone. Vitamin C can regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E; in the body vitamin E can regenerate C as well. This vitamin is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of your body. Relatively large doses of vitamin C may cause indigestion, particularly when taken on an empty stomach.
It has been shown that smokers who have diets poor in vitamin C are at a higher risk of lung-borne diseases than those smokers who have higher concentrations of Vitamin C in the blood. Biological tissues that accumulate over 100 times the level in blood plasma of vitamin C are the adrenal glands, pituitary, thymus, corpus luteum, and retina.
Studies suggest the presence of large quantities of sugar either in the intestines or in the blood can slow absorption of this vitamin. Several studies have demonstrated a blood pressure lowering effect of vitamin C supplementation. Also, when consumed in high doses it appears to interfere with the blood thinning effects of warfarin by lowering prothrombin time, as noted in case reports in the 1970s so consult your doctor if on medications..
In one Study, researchers instructed patients with documented coronary artery disease to take a single oral dose of either 2 g vitamin C or a placebo. Results, the researchers discovered that high doses of vitamin C can help prevent blood platelet sticking and fight cholesterol oxidation. Also, researchers discovered this vitamin can reduce the formation of potentially carcinogenic nitrogen-containing compounds in the stomach, offering protection from stomach cancer, researchers have reported.
French and German researchers found that vitamin C appeared to keep cells in the blood vessel wall from dying. The researchers, who studied immune indicators, such as serum immunoglobulin and neutrophil phagocytosis (how well your white blood cells can engulf and digest foreign bodies), concluded that vitamin C exerts a remarkable immuno-modulating action, in other words, improved immune function in all those who consumed vitamin C on a regular basis.
What are deficiency symptoms for vitamin C?
Scurvy is a disease resulting from lack of vitamin C, since without this vitamin, the synthesized collagen is too unstable to perform its function. Scurvy was common among those with poor access to fresh fruit and vegetables, such as remote, isolated sailors and soldiers. The amount of vitamin C required to prevent “chronic disease” appears to be more than that required for prevention of scurvy which is 30 – 60 milligrams per day. Based on scientific research, vitamin C also appears to improve oral absorption of iron, which is good news for those that are anemic.
Half of us in the United States will die from heart disease. The foundation of heart disease is atherosclerosis, the narrowing of our arteries with plaque. Treatment with vitamin C has consistently resulted in improved dilation of blood vessels in individuals with atherosclerosis as well as those with angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Researchers believe this protection from cell death could explain previous study findings which suggest that vitamin C benefits blood vessel function in people with congestive heart failure.
Vitamin C supplements are also generally regarded as safe in most individuals in recommended amounts, although there are rarely reported side effects including nausea, vomiting, heartburn, abdominal cramps, and headache. In addition, this vitamin is required for the synthesis of l-Carnitine, a small amino acid that is essential for the transport of fat to cellular organelles called mitochondria, for conversion to energy. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, vitamin C may help by boosting energy production through the mitochondria.
Therefore, as in many studies of vitamin C intake and cardiovascular disease risk, it is difficult to separate the effects of vitamin C on stroke risk from the effects of other components such as diet and the consumption of fruits and vegetables. As with all dietitians an emphasis on the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. If one can not consume fruits and vegetables on a daily basis then supplementation of vitamin C is need in either capsule of tablet to fight the risk of disease.
What is Alpha Lipoic Acid?
July 18, 2008 12:36 PM
You can be sure that a supplement has some remarkable therapeutic possibilities when it makes headlines on the five o’clock news. A recent experiment which showed the conditions of rats that had been fed a diet that was totally deficient in vitamin E tested alpha lipoic acid, which caused the rats to return to full health even though no vitamin E was replenished. The results of this test are profound, as giving these rats an alpha lipoic acid caused existing stores of vitamin E that the body was previously unable to use to be regenerated.
Alpha lipoic acid is a vitamin-like antioxidant that has been used in Europe for a long period of time. It has recently emerged as an extremely impressive therapeutic agent that scavenges free-radicals. Recent studies have suggested that it has the ability to stop some degenerative diseases, the oxidative process of aging, and restores the health of diseased organs. Additionally, it has the ability to make up deficits of vitamin E or C and could potentially be one of the best treatments that have emerged for diabetes. Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is considered to be more potent than vitamins E and C, as well as coenzyme Q10. Unlike other antioxidants, ALA has properties that make it superior because it is able to replace certain nutritional supplements, while potentiating others, and inhibiting tissues from deterioration that is associated with diseases. This supplement is also both fat and water soluble, which allows it to protect lipid and aqueous cell structures.
Alpha lipoic acid is a compound that is synthesized in small amounts in the body, but can also be supplied from food or supplement sources. A vitamin-like substance, it contains sulfur and also plays a crucial role in energy reactions. It can be found in liver, yeast, spinach, organ meats, broccoli, red potatoes, and red meat. When it is orally ingested, alpha lipoic acid is not compromised in the GI tract or the liver.
Numerous studies have been conducted on ALA, all of which confirm its positive effect on metabolic processes, with recent clinical tests supporting its ability to enhance free-radical protection, slow the aging process, and guard against a variety of degenerative diseases. ALA was discovered in the 1930s, where it was originally classified as a vitamin, and later categorized as an essential coenzyme when scientists discovered that it was involved in the energy processes of cell mitochondria. It wasn’t until 1988 that scientists found that it also has powerful antioxidant effects.
Alpha lipoic acid is important because it protects us from free-radicals which are present in a body as a result of the number of toxic substances such as auto exhaust, tobacco smoke, pollution, preservatives, and additives that we are exposed to on a daily basis. These free radicals can actually accelerate the aging process, causing premature tissue breakdown to occur. Additionally, our environment will continue to surround us with these pollutants that create free radicals.
There are things we can do to minimize our health risks, which include exercising, eating nutritiously, and not smoking. However, these measures are rarely enough to decrease our risk for certain degenerative disease a substantial amount. ALA is beneficial because it scavenges oxidants that are left behind and helps to convert carbohydrates, fatty acids and protein to energy that is needed to drive muscle movements.
B Vitamin Complex
June 23, 2008 03:19 PM
The vitamin B supplement you take is a mixture of nutrients that, although they share the same vitamin letter, are in fact distinctly different chemical entities. The reason that they share the same reference letter of the alphabet is that they are all essential water soluble vitamins (Vitamin C being the only other), they frequently work in synergy with each other and they often come from common sources and have similar properties in the body. They were therefore at one time believed to be just the one chemical entity.
They are essential in that they must form part of our diet because our bodies cannot manufacture these substances from others, and although most share common biochemical and health functions, there is no health function that requires all of them, and none of them can be totally replaced by another.
The B-Vitamin complex that you take can consist of as many as eight different B vitamins, each of which is essential for a healthy body and at one time it was believed that this mixture was only one single vitamin. That is why they are collectively known as vitamin B and were subsequently allocated numbers: it was only later that the individual components were discovered.
These eight are vitamin B-1 (thiamine), vitamin B-2 (riboflavin), vitamin B-3 (niacin), vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B-12 (cobalamins), biotin and folic acid (folate). They are found in yeast, liver, tuna, bananas and rice among other sources, and, as with all vitamins, without them life would not be possible. Not all vitamins are found in each of these food sources, and vitamin B-12, for example, is available in nutritional quantities only from animal sources.
Knowing what they are is all very well, but what does your body do with the B vitamin supplement that you take? Before considering that, the reason that a regular supply is important is because of their water solubility. This is a useful property for a vitamin to possess, because it means that they can easily be transported by the body fluids to the tissues where they are needed. The downside, however, is that they are consequently also easily flushed from the body, and your body cannot store any of the B vitamins.
You therefore must have a regular dietary source that can be augmented through supplementation. This is particularly desirable in alcoholics, those on diets to lose weight and vegans who are advised to take a regular vitamin B-12 supplement.
A lack of vitamin B will make you feel tired and lack energy because they play a big part in your body’s metabolism of blood glucose into energy. They also help to maintain a healthy immune system, keep your nervous system in tip-top condition and maintain good healthy skin, hair and muscles. The B complex is also very important in maintaining healthy blood and liver, and each and every component of the mixture has a specific part to play, both on individually and by interaction with others in the B complex.
Rather than examining what your body does with the supplement as a whole, let’s have a look at each component, and what your body does with that. Taking them one at a time, thiamine (B1) helps you to burn carbohydrates to generate energy. It is highly water soluble and must be taken daily. In the form of thiamine pyrophosphate it plays a key part in the metabolism of carbohydrates to energy, and also in the metabolism of certain amino acids. If you rely heavily on a high carbohydrate diet, you will need a good regular supplement of thiamine to be able to convert them to energy.
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) also plays a part in fat and carbohydrate metabolism and the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule of energy. It plays a significant part in the health of your skin and a deficiency is associated with mouth ulcers, cracked lips, flaky skin and bloodshot watery eyes. It also activates vitamin B6 and folic acid, one of the cases where the B vitamins work together synergistically.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, is well known to women as a component of some shampoos, and helps to promote health hair. However, this vitamin also takes part in the process of energy creation within your body, and helps to maintain a good muscle tone within the digestive tract. It is also used as a supplement for the treatment of diseases related to high levels of LDL cholesterol and is useful for the treatment of atherosclerosis.
Pantothenic acid is also found as a component of shampoos, so no prizes for guessing one of its functions. Vitamin B-5 plays a significant part in the energy-producing Krebs Cycle, or Citric Acid Cycle, that is used by every cell in your body to generate energy just where it is needed. It is also needed to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter needed for good brain function and it helps to reduce stress. Pantothenic acid is also closely involved in the production of cholesterol in your liver: cholesterol is not all bad, and is needed by your body to produce some of the steroid hormones and also vitamin D.
Amino acids are the small units that are used to biosynthesize proteins and ultimately the genes and DNA that determine who you are. The major factor involved in processing these amino acids is Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), one of the lesser known of the vitamin B complex. It synthesizes and breaks up different amino acids to produce a variety of other compounds, such as the hormones serotonin, melatonin and dopamine.
Deficiencies in these hormones can be very serious, Parkinson’s disease believed to be connected with a dopamine deficiency for example, and other disorders include kidney stones, anemia and many skin complaints. Although deficiency of vitamin B6 is rare, it can occur in alcoholics and those with chronic kidney problems. It is believed that many diets are deficient, however, and a good vitamin B supplement would ensure that this did not occur.
Vitamin B-12 is one where deficiency can occur, particularly in alcoholics and vegans. It is available in sufficient quantities only from meat sources, and a supplement is indicated in anyone with a low meat intake in their diet. It is used by your body for the replication of DNA and to allow the normal activity of your body cells. It also helps to control homocysteine levels in conjunction with vitamin B6 and folic acid: homocysteine is a high-risk amino acid associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, heart attacks and strokes.
The seventh, biotin (sometimes referred to as vitamin B7) also takes part in the metabolism of energy, but deficiencies have not been known, and the final known member of the B vitamin complex is folic acid. This is essential for cell growth and the synthesis of RNA and DNA in the body. RNA (Ribonucleic acid) is responsible for the synthesis of proteins in your body, and the well known Deoxy-ribonucleic acid (DNA) holds the genetic information of your body. Folic acid is therefore essential in the growing fetus, and any other cellular system that rapidly regenerates such as blood cells and the various cells of the immune system.
Without folic acid your body would be more susceptible to bacterial and viral attack, and less able to protect you from foreign invaders into your body tissues. Although deficiency is not common, folic acid is present in fresh food only and degrades when stored at room temperature and when cooked. A supplement is therefore advisable during pregnancy to help to prevent neural tube defects.
It is evident that the Vitamin B complex plays many parts in the chemistry of your body, and that a supplement can be of benefit in assuring that there are no deficiencies. A good B complex can be found at your local or internet health food store.
Activated Charcoal - Highly absorbent material to combat poisoning
April 24, 2008 02:44 PM
Activated charcoal has been treated by heat to open up millions of small spaces between the carbon atoms and turn it literally into an atomic sponge that adsorbs both organic and organic impurities.
This heat treatment is carried out in the absence of oxygen, so the charcoal cannot burn. Instead, what oxygen it did contain is driven off leaving behind all of these interstitial gaps that multiply the effective surface area by factors of ten. Since it is the surface area of the charcoal that determines its potency, then the greater this is the better.
Activated charcoal has a massive surface area, and just ten grams has the same surface area as nine American football pitches or 77 tennis courts. Ten grams is just marginally more than a third of an ounce. The term adsorb has a different meaning to absorb, and while a real sponge absorbs water by mopping it up through capillary action and suction, activation carbon adsorbs substances through a form of chemical attraction. You get rid of water from the sponge by squeezing it, but that doesn’t work with activated charcoal, since the substances are bound to it, not just physically constrained.
This huge surface area provides activated charcoal with innumerable bonding sites, and when chemicals that are attracted to carbon pass by they are attached to the surface. They cannot get free again, as water in a sponge can, but are bound to the surface of the carbon. Because the digestive system has no effect on charcoal then whatever is bound to it passes naturally through the body.
It is most effective at binding other carbon-based materials, and other substances with the right electronic arrangement, but others will just pass straight through. Because it is a chemical process, once all of the empty bonding sites have been taken up, the charcoal loses its effectiveness and has to be replaced. It is possible to regenerate it, but hardly worthwhile for you to do so because of the small quantities you use.
Because of the way it works, activated charcoal can help people to recover from some forms of food poisoning. It can adsorb gases in the intestine and help to relieve the pain of excessive gas in the gut. It has many additional uses that will be touched on later, but for now we will look at its effect on poisons because that is where activated charcoal is of greatest benefit to us.
It does not adsorb and neutralize all poisons, but is very effective with those that it can be sued for. Professor Touery proved a point when he drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine in 1831 and came through unscathed. He had mixed the strychnine with activated charcoal, and the fact that he lived after drinking a dose that would certainly have led to a very painful death within minutes testifies to the powerful effect of activated charcoal as an potential antidote for poisoning.
Ever medicine cabinet should have an emergency supply of activated carbon, especially those with young children in the household. However, this is not good news for the pharmaceutical companies who have reacted by refuting some of the claims made in its favor: they have claimed that it is not effective against arsenic. If that is so, then how did Michel Bertrand survive after swallowing 5 grams of arsenic trioxide – 150 times what is regarded as the lethal dose? He did this is 1813 after mixing it with activated charcoal, just as Professor Touery was to do 18 years later with ten times the lethal dose of strychnine.
It is true, however, that it does not have this degree of activity with all poisons, and it has no effect on cyanide, alcohols, antifreeze (glycols) and lithium. It also has no effect on corrosive poisons such as the strong alkalis used in oven clearers, or hydrocarbons such as kerosene. The way it works is adsorb the poison and prevent it being released into the body. For that to happen, the poison must have an affinity for carbon, and its adsorption site, and not all substances possess that property. Those that do however are permanently bound and therefore safe.
For charcoal to be effective in neutralizing a poison, it must be swallowed within an hour of taking the poison, or the poison will be too far advanced ion the digestive process for the charcoal to do any good. Keep in mind, though, that it is not selective, and activated charcoal can adsorb nutrients and other beneficial constituents of your body’s chemistry. It is important therefore that you take in only when necessary: you might need several doses if the poison was severe, but once it has done its job it is not meant to be used as a maintenance material to take ‘just in case’. Used like that, it can do harm.
If charcoal can adsorb poisons then it makes sense to believe that it can also adsorb some of the harmful agents that cause food poisoning. Not all food poisoning of course, but certainly those organisms that emit toxins that are attracted to carbon. And this is, in fact, the case. Food poisoning is caused by bacteria rather than viruses, and is not the presence of the bacteria that make you vomit and feel very ill.
As bacteria grow in your body they release toxins, or poisons, into your digestive system. These poisons are what make you ill. They can seriously affect the complete gastro-intestinal tract, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and inflammation and swelling of the small and large intestine. The latter can cause abdominal cramps and severe colic, and the severity of the symptoms depends very much upon the type of bacteria and the number of them in your body.
Many of these toxins are attracted to carbon since they are frequently organic based, and activated charcoal can be used to adsorb them. Once adsorbed they lose their potency, and since carbon is not digested by the body, they are passed harmlessly through the colon and eliminated in the faeces. It can also be used to eliminate many other foreign bodies from your gut, including viruses and fungi and might possibly reduce the concentration of uric acid, which can bring relief to gout sufferers.
Activated charcoal has many uses, and is normally available in capsule form. It can be dangerous to take too much, particularly if you suffer from intestinal problems that cause constipation, because the charcoal itself can have that effect. However, there is no better emergency treatment for accidental poisoning in the home, although, since it is not suitable for all poisons, you must still regard poisoning as an emergency and contact the emergency services.
Activated charcoal, or activated carbon as it is sometimes called, is also a good emergency treatment for vomiting and the other unpleasant effects of food poisoning. It deals with bacterial toxins in the same way as any other, though once again you must refer to your physician before or after using it – preferably the former.
April 16, 2008 01:10 PM
Coenzyme Q10 is an important cofactor that is found in nearly every cell of the body. Coenzyme Q10 is naturally produced by the body as well as attained through the foods we eat or in supplement form. With out it, every cell in our body could not produce energy to function and we would die. Coenzyme Q10 has the capability to regenerate antioxidants, protecting cells and DNA from oxidative stress which naturally occurs in the body every day.
Some may say that coenzyme Q10 exists in only one form, but in fact this substance exists in at least three forms in the body naturally. These three forms are CoQ ubiquinone, CoQH ubisemiquinone and COQH2 ubiquinol all of which are metabolically active forms of coenzyme Q10.
Ubiquinone has been commercially available for more than 30 years normally consumed orally, but recently stable forms of Ubiquinol have been made available for consumption which is of great interest by many researchers. The former ubiquinone when ingested had to be reduced by an enzymatically driven conversion from ubiquinone to Ubiquinol in the digestive tract. This conversion is done by the transfer of electrons effectively reducing the coenzyme Q10 to a more usable form Ubiquinol.
Once Ubiquinol is produced the body can more easily manufacture ATP which is directly used by cells for cellular energy. In young individuals, 90 percent of coenzyme Q10 found in the blood is in the Ubiquinol form. This being the case, the old form (ubiquinone) was less absorbable then the newer Ubiquinol that can go right to work in the body. Ubiquinol is considered the strongest lipid soluble antioxidant that is biosynthesized, providing an active defense against oxidative stress that damages, cells, proteins, lipids, and DNA.
Some scientists believe that cellular damage from free radicals cause our bodies to age. The older we get the less our bodies produce coenzyme Q10 which in its self is an antioxidant and restores other antioxidants in the body to fight the war against free radicals. Eating foods rich in antioxidants and or supplementing with antioxidants may slow the aging process.
With age, disease, and some prescription medications, the old form of coenzyme Q10 can not easily follow the process of absorption in the intestinal tract where it is reduced and shuttled through the lymphatic system into the circulatory system (blood). This is why Ubiquinol was so highly sot after. Ubiquinol is already reduced, the preferred form coenzyme Q10 the body wants to circulate and retain.
When one ages, energy levels always drop and one tends to slow down and feel tired sooner in the day, this may be because of a drop in coenzyme Q10 in the blood. Many recent studies suggest that the plasma Ubiquinol ratio is reduced in response to cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, fatigue and especially in type-2 diabetes. Supplementing with Ubiquinol can help restore plasma levels and boost ones energy levels and possibly slow diseases.
To sum it up, if you are over 45, suffering from a degenerative disease or cancer, feel tired and run down, or taking prescription medications, conventional coenzyme Q10 is not what you want to take to elevate plasma levels. Ubiquinol is needed because the body can not adequately produce the most abundant form of coenzyme Q10 in he blood (Ubiquinol). So for those who want to maintain health and wellness, look for Ubiquinol in their local health food store.
Beta Carotene Is The Safe To The Liver Form Of Vitamin A
March 19, 2008 08:17 AM
The fact that beta carotene is stated to be a safe form of vitamin A suggests that vitamin A is in some way unsafe. In fact an overdose of vitamin A can lead to any one of a number of conditions, including nausea, jaundice, vomiting, abdominal pain and headaches. This vitamin is fat soluble, and so any excess is not easily washed out of the body but can build up in the tissues.
Toxicity in the liver can occur at fairly low concentrations, and the toxicity of the vitamin is increased by excessive alcohol intake. However, toxicity only occurs with vitamin A already formed such as that obtained from liver.
There are several forms of vitamin A, including the retinoid form originating from animal sources and the carotenoid forms that have a vegetable origin. Carotenoids are converted to vitamin A in the liver, but the higher the concentration of beta carotene in the body, the smaller the percentage that is converted to vitamin A, so beta carotene is a safer source of vitamin A than retinoids. It is only the finished form of vitamin A that is toxic, and beta carotene is therefore self-regulating in its production.
This vitamin is stored in the body in the form of the alcohol (retinol) and of retinyl esters. Studies have indicated that as much as 95% if the stored vitamin is in the form of the ester. The liver is responsible for releasing vitamin A to the body as it is required. One of its better known effects is on vision, and the old wives tale that carrots help you to see in the dark has an element of truth in it.
In order for it to aid vision, retinol is oxidized to the aldehyde, retinal, that forms a complex with a molecule of opsin, a light sensitive protein found in the retina. Rhodopsin, as the complex is called, is an essential component of the biochemical chain of events that lead to the perception of light. It is extremely sensitive, and enables you see in very low levels of light. In other words it is essential for good night vision, so carrots do help you to see in the dark! When a photon of light hits a molecule of rhodopsin, it leads eventually to an impulse being sent up the optic nerve to the brain.
One of its properties is its reaction to white light. When rhodopsin is exposed to white light it loses its pigmentation, and hence its photoreceptor properties and can take 30 minutes to regenerate. That is why you lose your night sight if your retina is exposed to bright light. The more rhodopsin you can generate the quicker you develop night sight.
The other biochemical processes of the vitamin include the synthesis of some glycoproteins and maintenance of normal bone density. Without vitamin A, calcium is not properly absorbed by the body and glycoproteins are involved in this process. A deficiency of vitamin A can lead to the abnormal development of bone and other health problems, so there are limits between the levels of vitamin A in the body that must be maintained: above or below these limits will lead to health problems, some of which can be extremely serious.
Most of the biochemistry of vitamin A in the liver is initiated by the presence of alcohol, and otherwise it is though to passively store the vitamin until needed when it is released into the blood. There are several ways in which the presence of alcohol allows the liver to deplete its store of retinol, but generally there are a number of enzymes that, in the presence of ethanol, can render vitamin A into a water soluble form that is excreted by the urine.
The benefits of vitamin A other than its effect on night sight and the healthy development of bone tissue, includes a powerful antioxidant effect that neutralizes free radicals that can destroy body cells. These free radicals are generated by the body’s metabolism in generating energy from blood glucose, and are also created through exposure to pollutants such as cigarette smoke and traffic fumes. They are electron deficient, so when they are generated they grab an electron from tissue close by which destroys the cells involved. This can lead not only to the appearance of premature aging as the skin cells are damaged but also to serious health problems such as atherosclerosis and some forms of cancer. Vitamin A helps to protect against these by destroying the free radicals before they can do damage. It also helps build up resistance against infections by supporting the immune system.
Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A either by cleaving at the center of the molecule, or by breaking it down from one of the ends. This latter process is carried out in the small intestine, and the resultant vitamin stored in the liver in the ester form. Only a proportion of what you eat is converted to retinol ester in this way, and the more beta carotene you consume, the less is converted, so you can never suffer from an overdose of beta carotene-derived vitamin A. It might turn you yellow, but you won’t suffer from excess vitamin A since the excess beta carotene is stored in your body fat, including the subcutaneous fat reserves.
Alpha carotene can also be used in the synthesis of vitamin A, but not as actively as beta carotene. The best natural sources are fruits and vegetables, especially the red, yellow and orange varieties such as carrots and apricots, and also the leafy green vegetables, although supplements are also a convenient way of maintaining your beta carotene uptake. It is a much safer supplement than straight vitamin A for the reasons explained earlier. The supplement is not useful just for its antioxidant effect, but also for its ability to protect you from excessive exposure to the sun. While not as effective as a good sun blocker, beta carotene does provide some protection.
There is no doubt that beta carotene is a safer way to maintain an adequate vitamin A uptake due to the fact that you cannot take an overdose, since an overdose of beta carotene does not translate into the same dose of vitamin A, and the change is self-regulating. It is therefore safer to obtain your vitamin A needs from colored fruits and vegetables or beta carotene supplements than from eating liver, from which the retinol is in a form that can cause damage in the event of consuming an excess.
The old adage that you should never eat polar bear livers is a true one, and certainly has a provable scientific basis, so use beta carotene as your main vitamin A source for maximum health benefits in the safest possible way.
The Benefits of Ascorbyl Palmitate A Fat-Soluble Form of Ascorbic Acid
February 09, 2008 10:43 AM
The benefits of ascorbyl palmitate are due to the substance being a fat-soluble form of ascorbic acid which is otherwise known as vitamin C. Before discussing why being fat-soluble should be of benefit, let us first have a look at what vitamin C does for us and what its limitations are.
Most people know vitamin C as the vitamin that prevents us from getting scurvy, and that limes and other citrus fruits were given to sailors to prevent them from contracting this often fatal disease on long journeys. However, important though the protection it provides against scurvy is, there are many more important uses for this important vitamin. In fact some of them are closely connected to the symptoms of scurvy.
Among these are pains and swelling in the joints, and the loosening of teeth and hair loss. Scurvy is also associated with easy bruising and bleeding. All of these can be associated with loss of collagen, which is contained in connective tissues, bone and blood vessels. Collagen repairs and maintains cartilage, heals wounds and is essential for proper skin formation and the structure of ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, bones, hair and teeth. When we consider that one of the most important properties of vitamin C is the part it plays in the production of collagen in the body, then its effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of scurvy is not difficult to understand.
Vitamin C is also a strong antioxidant that destroys free radicals that kill and severely damage body cells, and cause a large variety of undesirable conditions such as atherosclerosis and cancers, and also debilitating and painful inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Many free radicals are formed in the body as by-products of our metabolism: the generation of energy from fats and blood glucose. Others are ingested in the form of cigarette smoke and other toxins, while yet other free radicals are caused by the effect of sunlight on our skins. Natural antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E help to keep these free radicals under control and minimize their effect.
Another interesting property of vitamin C is in the synthesis of carnetine, a deficiency of which is also thought to contribute to scurvy. Carnetine is needed by the body to transport fat to the cellular mitochondria so that it can be converted to energy. Vitamin C is also believed to take part in the biochemistry that converts cholesterol to bile acids and so helps to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol in the blood.
The vitamin is therefore a very useful one for the body, but it has one fault. It is water soluble, and hence cannot be stored in the body but is expelled in the urine. Had it been fat soluble it could have been able to be stored in the body fats, in the same way that vitamins A and E are, and be available for use when required. Instead any excess that is not immediately used is lost, and a fresh intake of ascorbic acid necessary on a continuous basis.
Not only that, but it is only of use in areas of the body that the blood can reach. Fatty tissue is practically devoid of vitamin C, and many areas of the brain cannot be reached by substances that are insoluble in oils and fats. It also finds it difficult to penetrate the skin and the walls of body cells. This is where the benefits of ascorbyl palmitate are useful.
Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C and possesses all of the attributes of ascorbic acid. It is more easily absorbed by the body and can be stored in the membranes of the cells until needed. It is also a powerful antioxidant, the same as vitamin C, and is frequently used to prevent the oxidation of vegetables oils, such as on potato chips and other oily snacks. It also takes part in the biochemistry of the production of collagen and connective tissues.
The usefulness of this substance comes from not only from its amphoteric nature, whereby it has one end that is water soluble and another that is fat soluble, but also by the fact that it is also amphipathic, meaning that it prefers neither one medium nor the other, and tends to collect at phase boundaries, between oil and water phases. It is particularly effective in topical uses on the skin, because it is easily absorbed into the skin tissue, and more stable than some of the other forms of vitamin C. It is also believed to protect other fat soluble antioxidants such as vitamin E from oxidation, and also to help to protect blood cell membranes from free radical attack.
Although vitamin C is a very powerful vitamin, carrying out a multitude of tasks, ascorbyl palmitate has some advantages over it apart from the solubility difference. Its antioxidant properties are stronger than those of regular ascorbic acid and in fact rival those even of vitamin E, which it also helps to regenerate after its reaction with free radicals, and help to maintain a continuous supply of this powerful antioxidant.
It is also a chemically neutral form of the vitamin, and unlike regular ascorbic acid, does not cause inflammation of the tissues it comes into contact with. It can also reduce sunburn due to excessive exposure to UVB when applied to the skin, and is a very stable form of the vitamin. Ascorbyl palmitate also acts as an anti-inflammatory with certain conditions, such as psoriasis where topical application helped to reduce the extent of the lesions. In fact it appears to do most of what vitamin C does, but faster and with smaller doses.
So why is ascorbyl palmitate not used as the main form of vitamin C in supplements? The answer is money. Ascorbyl palmitate is considerably more expensive than regular vitamin C, and also normal ascorbic acid has some properties that the fat-soluble form does not have, such as its ability to rapidly pass through the body in the bloodstream.
However, it would make sense to take a supplement consisting of both forms of vitamin C, and so combine the best properties of each. Any vitamin C supplement that is designed for maximum effect on the body should contain at least 25% of ascorbyl palmitate, the balance being ascorbic acid. That is what to look for if you are to receive the combined benefits of both water and fat soluble vitamin C.
Give Your Health A Boost With Silica Hydride A Powerful Antioxidant
January 18, 2008 05:25 PM
Hydride ions are strong proton acceptors and hence fatal to free radicals. Silica hydride is consequently a powerful antioxidant that can be used to protect your body against the ravaging effects of these free radicals that destroy the cells of your body, and due to its other unique properties this is a molecule that could be a very useful participant in the various redox reactions that occur naturally within our bodies every microsecond of every day of our lives.
A free radical is a positively charged molecule that is deficient in an electron. Whereas stable compounds consist of electron pairs, a free radical consists of electron pairs and one unpaired electron. Although such a compound is not stable, it does not immediately disintegrate but grabs the nearest electron it can find. This would normally be an electron in the nearest body cell to it, whether it is a blood cell, a cell in an artery wall or a skin cell. The result is that the cell that loses the electron is disrupted.
Free radicals are formed in the body through its normal biochemistry, and also promoted by pollutants such as cigarette smoke, pesticides and traffic fumes. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight or sunbeds also creates free radicals, as does excessive exercise, believe it or not. As stated earlier, these chemicals have only one purpose in your body: to grab an electron from wherever they can, and in doing so they destroy the cells that make up your body tissue.
This can lead to premature aging, heart disease and many other problems with your health. Antioxidants such as vitamins C and E are important parts of your diet, and silica hydride is an other supplement which has been relatively recently discovered to have antioxidant properties. A component of glacial streams, this substance is generally in colloidal form, or in the form of small particles maintained in suspension by the interaction of positive and negative charges on the surface of the tiny particles of which it consists.
The interface between the silica and water can be saturated with reduced hydrogen to form a surface that is overall negatively charged and can hence neutralize free radicals that are seeking the free electrons available from the negative charge. This is otherwise described as a reducing or anti-oxidant effect. All anti-oxidants play their part in neutralizing the properties of free radicals that result in the destruction of body cells.
This leads to premature aging of your skin, if a skin cell is affected, if it is a cell in your artery wall, then the artery will become damaged, and if a blood cell then you can suffer from any one of a number of abnormal blood conditions. The stealing of an electron from one molecule by another is scientifically termed 'oxidation', and the substances that prevent this from occurring are called antioxidants, or reducing agents.
An antioxidant will destroy free radicals by providing the extra electron, or chemically, a negatively charged hydrogen ion. This occurs practically instantaneously, in microseconds in fact, as soon as the free radical is formed, so you need a good supply of antioxidants in your body at all times. Free radicals do not roam your bloodstream looking for likely candidate cells to destroy – they do it right away with the nearest available, so antioxidants must be present at the time that the free radicals are created.
Other beneficial effects of such antioxidants are an increase in the potential for the mitochondria to generate energy within your cells, an increase in the hydration of body cells and a decrease in lactic acid build–up that occurs as the result of exercise. The negative charges of silica hydride atoms are very strong antioxidants and can dramatically increase the energy production of mitochondria. It has been shown to do so by up to six times in Chinese hamsters. There is more on this claim for such a significant effect on your energy production later.
In addition to its action as an antioxidant, silica hydride is an electron donor to other antioxidants that have been neutralized by reaction with a free radical. When antioxidants do their work they are not destroyed, but neutralized. They act by giving an electron to the free radical, and are then one electron deficient themselves. This could virtually turn them into free radicals also were it not for the other electron donors available. Silica hydride is one of these. Thus, Coenzyme Q10, another very powerful antioxidant, can have is potency regenerated by silica hydride. If you take a silica hydride supplement, you are not only taking an effective antioxidant, but also a substance that can recharge the batteries of other powerful antioxidants.
Another side effect of this substance is that the reacted hydrogen atoms can also be used in the body to maintain a slightly alkaline pH which is an additional health benefit. pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity of the body fluids, and should be maintained slightly alkaline, other than in the stomach where the digestive juices are strongly acidic.
Silica hydride is not essential to the body, so you cannot suffer from a deficiency of it. It is not known to be contained in any foodstuff or water source, and appears to be available only as a supplement. Consequently no optimum dosage has been determined, though the supplements available contain from 200 to 250 mg per capsule. Likewise, side effects from it are unknown since there have been few scientific studies carried out on it. It has, however, been described as the ‘perfect antioxidant’.
Some of the claims made for the substance include reducing lactic acid concentration during exercise. Lactic acid production during exercise causes tiredness and cramps, and silica hydride is said to increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) a substance essential for the production of energy in your body. This is through the reduction of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to the reduced form NADH as a part of glycolysis and the citric acid cycle. Glycolysis is the metabolism of glucose to energy by the mitochondria.
If the claim that silica hydride effects this reduction of NAD to NADH six or seven times stronger than normal were true, then it would indeed be a significant energy booster invaluable to most athletes.
Natural Vitamin and Herbal Alternatives For Joint Health
October 18, 2007 03:58 PM
Joint tissue breaks down and arthritis sets in for a number of reasons, and there are several natural alternatives for joint health that can be use to prevent this and to treat affected joints.
Thyroid problems can slow down the production of adrenal hormones that are responsible for the production of cortisone and cosrtisol. These are anti-inflammatories, that when unavailable or in low supply can result in joint inflammation. If you suffer joint pain in the mornings that tends to improve as the day goes on, then it is likely that is the cause since adrenal activity can improve as the day progresses.
One of the main reasons for joint tissue breakdown is osteoarthritis whereby the cartilage wears down until it fails to provide the necessary protection against impact between the bones in a joint, or against the friction generated when two bones rub together. Injuries to joints can have the same effect, whereby an injury to a hip or knee can appear to clear up and then later the cartilage wears out sooner than expected. This can take several months or many years, depending on the severity and nature of the injury concerned.
Continual wear and tear can also cause joint tissue to break down. Athletes and other sportspersons often suffer twenty years or more after retirement from their sport due to the gradual wearing down of cartilage while they were active. Once they stop, this continues to a lesser extent until the cartilage is eventually worn away sufficiently for it to stop protecting the joint.
Problems with the auto-immune system can lead to rheumatoid arthritis and inflammation of the joints. This weakens them and can eventually completely destroy the tissue. In such cases the tissues in the joint tend to swell and become extremely painful. Gout can also damage joints, especially in the big toe. This is caused through a built up of needle sharp uric acid crystals. Another cause is a deficiency in sodium and potassium in the diet that are needed to help maintain calcium in solution. When these metals are in deficiency due, for example, to an adrenal problem or some other reason, calcium can deposit right in the joints, causing undue pain.
Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are commonly associated with arthritis sufferers, and protein deficiencies are also believed to be a contributing factor of rheumatoid arthritis, and it is also true that degenerative arthritis can accompany rheumatoid arthritis. This occurs in almost 40% of cases, and diet and nutrition are now being recognized as a major cause of both types. Deficiencies in folic acid or its natural form of folate, vitamin E, zinc and selenium have all been associated with degeneration of joint tissue, so it makes sense that a supplement of these substances can help to avoid these conditions.
Standard medical treatment, however, is for the relief of pain and reduction of inflammation through the prescribing of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Typical NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen. Although it relieves pain, paracetamol is not an anti-iflammatory. An alternative to blocking the inflammatory reponse is to help to regenerate the damaged joint tissue.
However, reducing the inflammatory response to tissue damage does not address the underlying problem, but masks it. Not only that, but there are side effects associated with the use of NSAIDs. Excessive doses can create serious gastrointestinal problems, such as bleeding, ulcer perforation and even death is possible in severe cases. Anti-inflammatories cause gastric problems in up to 20% of cases
The newer Cox-2 inhibitors act on the enzyme that causes the inflammation within the joint, and while these can be very effective, they are still masking the underlying problem. Incidentally, the Cox-2 inhibitors should not be used with NSAIDs, and both increase the possibility of a myocardial infarction or heart attack. Also, if you are taking aspirin to reduce the risk of heart problems, you should be careful not to use other NSAIDs since they can interfere with the effects of the aspirin.
More effective in the long run is to treat the conditions with substances that deal with the cause of the problem. Vitamin C, for example, improves the lubrication effect of the synovial fluid in the joints, and vitamin E is a strong antioxidant that can help to repair damaged tissue and improve the circulation within the joints. Joints have very low blood circulation levels, which is a problem when trying to direct drugs to the joint tissues. Vitamin C is also good for improving the integrity of connective tissue. Zinc, manganese and copper are also instrumental in developing strong connective tissue and helping to repair the damage done to the joints.
Horsetail is a commonly used herbal remedy that can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsules. It is the richest natural herbal source of silicon, which is used by the body to form connective tissue and collagen. Damaged connective tissue is rapidly repaired by horsetail, and its strength and elasticity significantly improved. It is commonly used in the treatment of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Cat’s Claw is used for its beneficial effect on the immune system, and frequently used successfully to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, this treatment is used more to help reduce the inflammatory effects of the condition than to effect a long lasting cure. Gotu Kola, also called Indian pennywort, is traditionally used for treating arthritis. The fresh leaves are effective in reducing the inflammation and pain, and help to improve the quality of life of arthritis sufferers. In Australia, it is referred to as ‘the arthritis herb’ and two leaves a day are said to be effective.
Another popular remedy is MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), although it is claimed to provide pain relief rather than a cure. Amino acids also seem to help, and L-cysteine helps promote collagen and connective tissue. It appears to work best when taken in combination with vitamin E and selenium that are powerful antioxidants. L-arginine has a similar effect in the reconstruction of joint tissue, again helping to repair damaged connective tissues.
There are therefore two approaches to treating both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, one providing pain relief and reducing inflammation, and the other repairing the damage done to the joint tissues. Vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and herbal remedies are used in both, though it is better to use a combination that provides pain relief and also helps to regenerate strong connective tissues in the joints.
When using combinations of remedies it is important that possible interactions are understood, and you should always seek the advice of your physician when using non-prescription remedies of any kind.
The Power Plant of the Amazon
March 02, 2007 11:34 AM
It may surprise most Americans to know that rainforest plants are the original source for one-fourth of the chemotherapy medications used today. Plants offer a plethora of beneficial compounds, and rainforests contain a superabundance of beneficial plants.
In fact, plant medicines are the most widely used medicines of all types in the world. Over eighty-five percent of the world’s population uses plant and herbal medicines as their primary medicines. That’s 5.1 billion (5,100,000,000) people worldwide! While Americans overwhelmingly use synthetically manufactured pharmaceuticals to cure their ills, the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants use healing plant medicines instead.
One of the most powerful healing rainforest plant medicines is cat’s claw, or Uncaria tomentosa. This high climbing woody vine grows at the base of tall trees in the Peruvian rainforest. The plant’s claw-shaped thorns latch onto the trees and spiral further upward, nourished by the lush rainforest environment. For over 2,000 years, the Ashaninka, a tribal people of the Peruvian rainforest, have used the root of U. tomentosa to treat illnesses in the tribe, including asthma, bladder infections, infected wounds, arthritis, bone pain, bowel inflammation, and cancer.
Q. I’ve heard about cat’s claw, but what does it do and how do I know which one is right for me?
Cat’s claw might be one of the most confusing (and most effective!) nutritional supplements available in health food stores today. One reason that it’s so confusing is there are so many kinds of cat’s claw supplements-there are cat’s claw leaves, cat’s claw bark, and even cat’s claw twigs. While each of these supplements claim to help the immune system, it is the root of Uncaria tomentosa that is proven to impart the true cat’s claw health benefits.
Scientists, who have extensively studied every part of the plant, discovered that extracts made from selected cat’s claw roots possess the healing power to treat and prevent diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers and degenerative diseases. In addition, it demonstrates anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-microbial benefits.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that not all Uncaria tomentosa roots actually contain healing properties.
Healers in the Ashaninka tribe attribute the healing properties in cat’s claw to the “good spirits” that live in the plant’s roots. The Ashaninka healers, or sancoshi, are able to actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root of the plant before they harvest them.
Some cat’s claw plant roots have the good spirits. Some don’t. If the good spirits are mixed with any cat’s claw root without good spirits, the healing power is lost. While there are no apparent differences in the plants or the roots to the untrained eye, only certain cat’s claw roots possess the power to heal. And, for a very long time, only the Ashaninka tribal healer seemed to be able to identify them. They call the good spirit cat’s claw Saventaro, or “powerful plant”.
However, scientists who were given cat’s claw roots by the Ashaninka to study in the laboratory discovered that they could “see” the good spirits, too! Using high performance liquid chromatography, or HPLC, a laboratory process that identifies various chemical compounds, the good spirits of cat’s claw roots were revealed to be important medicinal compounds called pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids (POAs). Research has learned that POAs provide powerful benefits for the human immune response.
Q. Why are good spirits, or POA’s, good for the immune system?
Cat’s claw POAs work to keep us healthy by directly interacting with white blood cells, the backbone of our immune system. Our white blood cells are the disease fighting cells of the human body. These highly specialized cells fight diseases we catch, such as colds and flu, as well as diseases that start within our own cells, such as cancer and autoimmune diseases. There are many kinds of white blood cells; each has a specific job to do in fighting diseases.
Certain POAs help white blood cells called macrophages work faster. The macrophages’ job is to engulf and digest foreign material. This means that macrophages can ingest m ore bacteria and disease causing microbes when they are exposed to POAs. The scientists also discovered that POA cat’s claw extract increases the production of a chemical protein called interleukin that is secreted by macrophages. This macrophage-secreted interleukin (IL-1) has important immune enhancing properties. IL-1 alerts resting white blood cells and spurs them into action. It also helps make other biochemicals that are essential to an activated immune system.
POAs also help B cells. B cells are white blood cells that make antibodies that kill germs. Each B cell is programmed to make one specific antibody that is effective against one specific germ (such as a bacteria, virus, or fungus). When scientists looked at the number of B cells after they were exposed to POA cat’s claw root extract, they found that the B cells had increased significantly, resulting in an increased supply of antibodies. And perhaps most importantly as they relate to cancer, the POAs in cat’s claw root extract help increase the number of T cells, the true soldiers of the immune system. There are many different kinds of these white blood cells, including Helper T cells, Suppressor T cells, and Killer T cells. Increased Helper, Suppressor, and Killer T-cells can more effectively destroy cancer cells. Increasing the number of circulating T-cells is very important in a disease like AIDS as well.
Q. Can cat’s claw and other plants in the rainforest really cure diseases? Isn’t that just folklore?
It’s folk use and modern science combined-plants have long been known for their ability to kill cancer cells. In fact, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has identified over 3000 plant extracts that can kill cancer cells. More than 70 percent of these plants are found only in the rainforest.
Q. What is it about the rainforest that gives plants like cat’s claw these cancer killing compounds?
Most of the time when we talk about rainforests, we’re talking about the tropical rainforests. While other forests, like the old-growth temperate forests of the Pacific Northwest, also have high rainfalls and tall trees, the tropical rainforests located near the equator are where most plant medicines come from.
The Amazon rainforest in South America is the world’s largest, covering an area about two-thirds the size of the continental United States. Depending on the elevation and distance to the equator the Amazon rainforest receives between 160 and 400 inches of rain per year. The rain is spread pretty evenly from January to December-it’s always the rainy season-and the temperatures remain between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit all year.
This fertile environment continually recycles itself. When leaves fall from the trees, flowers wilt, and animals die in the rainforest-all of the nutrients are recycled back into the roots of the trees and plants. Because the rainforest reuses almost everything that falls to the ground, the plant growth is amazingly rich in alkaloids and other medicinal compounds. Researchers think these compounds and alkaloids, like POAs, protect the plants from illness and insect attacks. These are the very same compounds that protect us from disease.
Q. When the Ashaninka harvest the cat’s claw roots, does it impact the rest of the plant?
No. The Ashaninka work intelligently to keep rainforest cat’s claw plants perpetually healthy. The Ashaninka employ responsible and innovative harvesting techniques to keep the plants alive and tribal members healthy. Individual cat’s claw plants are never completely harvested. Only one third of the lateral roots are collected at any one time to allow re-growth by the remaining root. Once a plant’s lateral roots have been partially harvested, that plant is left to regenerate, and no more root is harvested from it for 10 years.
Q. Why are the Ashaninka willing to share their cat’s claw?
They are generous people. The Ashaninka see no benefit in hoarding cat’s claw for themselves alone. They also want to make sure that the plant’s healing properties continue on. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing. There were an estimated ten million tribal and indigenous peoples living in the Amazonian Rainforest in 1510. Today there are less than 200,000.
Since the 1900’s more than 90 indigenous tribes have died out and disappeared. Each time a rainforest medicine man or woman dies without passing their arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants. With them, centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species have been lost.
A good example of the impact of this loss can be seen in cat’s claw. When European explorers began venturing into the Amazon River basin, t hey were skeptical of the stories the Ashaninka people told them of U. tomentosa’s amazing healing powers. But when the explorers became sick with colds, flu, or other illnesses, they harvested cat’s claw root for themselves and gave the plant a try. Sometimes the explorers got better when they used the cat’s claw root, sometimes they stayed the same.
Q. Why didn’t the cat’s claw root help all the explorers?
Because some cat’s claw plant roots have good spirits-POAs-and some cat’s claw plant roots have tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids, or TOAs. While the POAs have very powerful effects in the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none of which help the immune system cells at all. All U. tomentosa plants look virtually identical, so it’s hard to tell if they have the healing POAs or non-helpful TOAs.
What makes cat’s claw identification even more challenging is the fact that plants with POAs one year will have TOAs the next. Cat’s claw plants seem to change their alkaloid chemotypes at will, an incredibly powerful accomplishment for a plant to possess. Harvesting of cat’s claw roots that contain POAs is very tricky. Unless the person gathering the root extract is an Ashaninka sancoshi. These medicine men know which cat’s claw to use; they can actually “see” the good spirits hidden inside the root. When scientists studying cat’s claw discovered they could “see” presence of TOAs using HPLC technology, they were able to harvest cat’s claw root extracts with POAs that consistently helps people get and stay healthy.
Q. Do some cat’s claw root extract supplements contain TOAs?
Yes they do. And buying those products will only benefit the cat’s claw distributor; they won’t help you stay healthy. When cat’s claw root is harvested from the rainforest, responsible supplement maker examine the root with HPLC to make sure that only POA roots are collected. But, this identification of the chemotypes takes significant time and costs money. For these reasons, many cat’s claw distributors don’t include this important process in their harvesting. The POAs and TOAs are simply just mixed together and sold as a cat’s claw product with no mention of any alkaloid content on the label.
Q. Why should I avoid TOAs?
While the POAs in cat’s claw root extracts have numerous benefits to the immune system, the TOAs have different effects in the body, none helping the immune system cells. Most importantly, however, when POAs and TOAs are mixed together, the TOAs actually work against the POAs. TOAs reduce the capacity of POAs to beneficially modulate the immune system.
Q. How can I be sure the cat’s claw I buy is POA cat’s claw?
Read the label of the cat’s claw root extract product you are considering buying. If it does not clearly state that it is the high POA cat’s claw, then chances are that it’s not.
Q. What do the Ashaninka receive in return for the cat’s claw harvesting?
The Ashaninka and reputable distributors of cat’s claw root extract have established a mutual and ethical relationship. Both groups benefit from the sale of the plant material. Maintaining this relationship is important for both the tribe and the distributors.
The distributors are paying a fair price for the raw material directly to the tribe. No intermediary is involved. This payment covers the raw material itself, a license-fee for the k knowledge of the plant, and a guarantee (from both sides) of a lasting relationship. Payment is also made for the protection of the rainforest. No deforestation is allowed. The area where the cat’s claw materials are processed is also leased and payment is made for this, as well.
This arrangement allows the Ashaninka to make independent decisions in how to spend this income from sale of their cat’s claw plants. They have been able to make improvements in the tribe’s water supply and in their living areas. They are also able to obtain outside medical aid as needed and provide for education of their children.
The partnership with cat’s claw distributors has created a sustainable resource for the Ashaninka. The tribe has been able to not only preserve their rainforest, but also compete financially with unsustainable income sources offered by timber and agricultural firms.
Q. Why is it important to preserve the rainforest?
The most amazing fact about these impressive medicinal plants is the vast number that5 has yet to be discovered. In fact, the rainforest’s abundance is one reason it is home to so many healing plants. Within a four square mile patch of rainforest, you could see 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 125 mammal species, 400 species of birds, 100 reptile species, 60 amphibian species, and 150 different species of butterflies.
Unfortunately, not everyone looks to the rainforest for the same reasons. Many consider its real value in board feet and cultivated acreage. The forces pushing industrial development move quickly; experts estimate that we’re losing over 130 plant, animal, and insect species every day/ That amount to almost 50,000 species a year.
A combination of logging, petroleum interests, cattle grazing operations, and, of course, our own consumer appetites are putting pressure on rainforest resources. The consequences are sobering:
By leaving the rainforest intact, however, and harvesting its many nuts, fruits, oil-producing, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if it was cut down for timber or to make grazing land for cattle. If managed properly, the rainforest can provide the world’s need for sustainably harvested natural resources on a perpetual basis. That’s what the Ashaninka are doing with their cat’s claw harvesting.
The discovery of medicinal plants is dependent upon healthy rainforests. When an acre of tropical rainforest is lost due to deforestation, the impact on the number of plant and animal species lost and their possible uses is staggering.
We can all help the development of sustainable rainforest industries. By purchasing renewable and sustainable rainforest products, like POA type cat’s claw root extract, we are keeping rainforests alive and well. By benefiting from the innate wisdom of the Ashaninka people we are keeping ourselves just as alive and well. By honoring the science and the sacred of the world’s rainforests, like my friend the oncology nurse, the massive wealth and diversity will be there for generations to come.
Taming the Tingle – ALA helps fight nerve damage caused by diabetes…and more.
November 09, 2006 01:27 PM
For some people the constant tingling in their feet is the worst part. Others feel like their feet are being stabbed or burned, or that their extremities are simply lifeless. All these folks suffer from peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage that afflicts nearly 30% of people with diabetes aged 40 and older. And if the discomforting sensations are not enough, neuropathy can lead to falls, wounds that won’t heal, even amputation.
Untold numbers of individuals have been helped by alpha lipoic acid (ALA), a supplement that European practitioners have used as a standard neuropathy treatment for 30 years. ALA (also known as thioctic acid) assists in the chemical reaction that generates energy within cells. It serves as a universal antioxidant—a substance that can fight tissue-damaging free radicals in both the fatty watery parts of a cell-and helps the body create additional free radical fighters, such as glutathione. ALA can even help regenerate several other antioxidants, including coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and vitamins C and E.
People with diabetes need antioxidant protection as much as anyone. Fortunately for them, though, ALA fights this insidious disorder in many other ways.
Diabetes occurs when the body can no longer effectively use glucose (blood sugar), its main energy sources; ALA helps shepherd glucose out of the blood and into cells. It also interferes with glycosylation, a process in which glucose sticks to proteins such as the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) that carries cholesterol through the bloodstream. That’s important because this “sticky” LDL can adhere to arterial walls, creating a major risk factor for heart disease. ALA combined with exercise appears to make insulin, the hormone that controls glucose usage, more effective. What’s more, early research indicates that ALA can deflect another cardio hazard by interfering with the ability of salt to push blood pressure upward (molecular and Cellular Biology 12/03).
ALA Annotations – what is it? Alpha Lipoic acid, a substance the body creates naturally.
What it Does: ALA, a powerful antioxidant in its own right, plays a vital role in the creation and renewal of other antioxidants. It is used to treat peripheral neuropathy; nerve damage caused by diabetes, and is also under investigation for possible therapeutic effects in other disorders, including multiple sclerosis and age-related cognitive decline.
Diabetes doesn’t just attack the nerves and the heart—its effects are felt throughout the body. That’s why scientists are examining whether ALA can tackle other diabetic complications: in lab studies it has forestalled diabetes-related kidney and eye damage. (Check blood-sugar levels regularly when using ALA, especially if you’re taking other glucose regulators.)
While diabetes is one of the most common causes of nervous system damage, it isn’t the only one. In test tube studies ALA has promoted chemical reactions that encourage neurons (nerve cells) to survive and grow; as a result some scientists believe this natural antioxidant may eventually play a role in treating degenerative nerve disorders. Such research is in its beginning stages, but the results are still intriguing. For example, in mice ALA has slowed progression of a disorder that mimics multiple sclerosis in human beings (Journal of Neuroimmunology 3/04) and improved age-related memory loss when used with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), another antioxidant supplement (Journal of Neurochemistry 3/03). A number of other conditions that become more common with age may also benefit from ALA, including arthritis and thinning skin.
If you suffer from both diabetes and the nerve damage it causes, ask your practitioner about ALA. It just may help your feet and the rest of you feel happy. –Lisa James
Benefits of Camu Camu Powder Extract
August 29, 2006 09:18 AM
100% Natural Wild-Crafted Vitamin C*
Camu camu is one of the richest natural sources of this potent antioxidant vitamin in the world. Every gram of Best Camu Camu 4:1 extract contains at least 200 mg of natural, wild-crafted vitamin C. This is in addition to a synergistic host of additional nutrients that potentially enhance the uptake of the antioxidants in the extract.
Vitamin C is critical to numerous organs and systems throughout the body. It serves as an important cofactor in a number of physiological processes that occur on a daily basis. Vitamin C protects molecules including lipids, proteins and DNA from free radical damage and serves to regenerate other potent antioxidants, including vitamin E. Vitamin C is also a required factor for the synthesis of collagen and connective tissue, plays a prominent role in energy production, helps in the formation of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, and supports immune health.1 An adequate daily supply of vitamin C is necessary for the maintenance of these and other critical physiological processes.
Strengthens Antioxidant Defenses*
Anthocyanin compounds, such as cyanidin-3-glucoside found prominently in camu camu fruit, are natural pigments responsible for the brilliant colors seen in fruits.2 They also possess significant antioxidant activities as well as other potential health benefits. Furthermore, studies show that anthocyanin compounds are rapidly absorbed in humans and other mammals. Recent studies have shown that the stomach and small intestines are the predominant sites of absorption into the bloodstream.3
Research conducted on cyanidin-3-glucoside confirms its potent antioxidant activity. In vitro assays have been performed evaluating markers of free radical damage including DNA cleavage, free radical scavenging capacity and xanthine oxidase activity. In this study, cyanidin-3-glucoside showed protective effects on DNA cleavage, inhibition of xanthine oxidase and dose-dependent free radical scavenging abilities.4 Studies in rats also confirm the beneficial effects of this anthocyanin. In one such study, feeding this compound to rats was shown to increase the resistance of rat serum to oxidative changes, suggesting a potent antioxidant effect of this compound.5
Camu camu is a potent source of cyanidin-3-glucoside and has a high content of the ubiquitous, water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin C. Together, these nutrients serve to strengthen antioxidant defenses against free radical damage*. Best Camu Camu 4:1 Extract provides a natural, wholesome way to infuse the body with its daily requirement for vitamin C and additional free radical-fighting anthocyanin compounds.
Suggested Adult Use: Take 1 more capsules daily, with or without food
1. Linus Pauling Institute. Micrnutrient Information Center. Monograph on “Vitamin C”. //lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/vitamins/vitaminC/
2. Zanatta CF, et al. Determination of Anthocyanins from Camu-camu (Myrciaria dubia) by HPLC-PDA, HPLC-MS, and NMR. J Agric Food Chem 2005. 53: 9531-9535.
3. Talavera S, et al. Anthocyanins are efficiently absorbed from the small intestine in rats. J Nutr 2004. 134: 2275-2279.
4. Acquaviva R, et al. Cyanidin and cyanidin 3-O-beta-D -glucoside as DNA cleavage protectors and antioxidants. Cell Biol Toxicol. 2003 Aug;19(4):243-52.
5. Tsuda T, et al. Dietary cyanidin 3-O-beta-D-glucoside increases ex vivo oxidation resistance of serum in rats. Lipids. 1998 Jun;33(6):583-8. Buy Camu Camu at Vitanet
July 06, 2006 02:15 PM
Every muscle, organ, bone and tissue in the body is dependent on the kidneys. Each 30 minutes, the kidneys filter the blood, removing about two quarts of waste products and excess water a day, which become urine.
In addition to removing wastes, the kidneys release three important hormones that stimulate the body to produce more red blood cells, regulate blood pressure and help maintain calcium for bones and normal chemical balance in the body.
The kidneys regulate the body’s level of many substances necessary for life. Healthy kidneys return the right amount of chemicals such as sodium, phosphorus and potassium back to the bloodstream fro use by the body.
Because of their vital role, it is important that one’s kidneys be in good health and not stressed or impeded in their function by a buildup of toxins. Low-back pain, joint stiffness and painful menstrual cramps may all be symptoms of poor kidney health.
Kidney Rejuvenator is a proprietary blend of powerful herbs that support the kidneys’ vital functions. These herbs include:
Cinnamon Bark – reinforces circulation in the kidneys, liver spleen and stomach, and increases blood circulation and immunity. Excellent for poor kidney function. Helps balance the menstrual cycle.
Litchi fruit – contributes to healthy kidneys and liver by promoting regeneration of cells. Helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Excellent for a week sex drive, strengthens weak knees and joints, and improves vision.
Borage leaves – helps to heal and regenerate damaged adrenal glands and kidneys. Excellent for cardiovascular function. Contribute to healthy skin and nails. Soothe sore joints and strengthen the liver.
Damiana leaf – balance both male and female hormones, which increases energy as well as oxygenating the reproductive organs.
Cedar leaves – boost the immune system and increase blood flow; also cleanse the lymphatic system and urinary tract.
Red Raspberry leaf – support kidneys, liver, spleen, reproductive system and bladder, and promotes healthy skin.
Wild Rose Root – excellent for bladder problems, soothes the liver, strengthens the immune system and reduces pain.
Fenugreek – energizes the kidneys and of all herbs; good for the heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, stomach and spleen.
Benefits reported for users
Here are some of the benefits reported by users of Kidney Rejuvenator: reduction of period cramps, reduction of muscle soreness and stiffness, improved kidney / bladder function, fewer general aches and pains, greater flexibility, less joint discomfort, diminished swelling in joints, sense of well-being, and increased energy.
Benefits of Best Alpha Lipoic 35!
February 12, 2006 03:11 PM
Coenzyme Q10 and Cardiovascular Health.
December 13, 2005 11:34 AM
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like compound that is produced naturally in the human body and is also found in most living organisms. It is also called ubiquinone, a combination of quinone, a type of coenzyme, and ubiquitous, meaning it exists everywhere in the human body. CoQ10 plays an important role in your body’s energy production and is an essential component of the mitochondria, where it helps to metabolize fats and carbohydrates and maintain cell membrane flexibility. CoQ10 is also involved in the production of several key enzymes that are used to create ATP, which is burned by your body for energy, and used in the energy transfer between mitochondria and cells. Without CoQ10, you would not be able to function!
CoQ10 is also an effective antioxidant that may beneficially affect the aging process. As we age, our body’s production of CoQ10 declines by as much as 80 percent. Because it is so important to energy production, and therefore life, researchers believe that this decline may be a factor in the effects of aging on the human body. Clinical trials on both animal and human subjects have revealed a marked decrease in CoQ10 levels in relation to a wide variety of diseases. As a free radical scavenger, CoQ10 inhibits lipid peroxidation – a normal aspect of the aging process that is implicated in certain agerelated diseases. Studies conducted in the last fifteen years suggest CoQ10 is important for maintaining healthy intracellular activity, and some researchers have compared its efficiency to that of vitamin E, one of the most effective of all dietary antioxidants. Research has shown that CoQ10, along with glutathione and selenium, works to regenerate or recycle vitamin E after it’s capacity to fight radicals has been diminished, thereby allowing vitamin E to remain active as an antioxidant for a longer period of time in your body.
CoQ10 was first discovered by Dr. Frederick Crane of the University of Wisconsin in 1957. One year later, Professor Karl Folkers and others at Merck Inc. identified and recorded CoQ10’s chemical structure, and were the first to produce it through fermentation. Intermittent research led to its use in Japan for cardiac insufficiencies during the 1960’s. Dr. Folkers championed more intensive research into CoQ10’s role in cardiovascular health in 1972, after he and an Italian scientist, Gian Paolo Littarru, discovered that persons with cardiac insufficiencies had very low levels of CoQ10, and supplementation increased CoQ10 levels and positively affected heart health. Soon afterwards, the Japanese developed a method that allowed pure CoQ10 to be produced in quantities large enough for significant clinical trials. During the 1980’s this method was perfected in Japan, and medical technology finally allowed scientists to measure CoQ10 levels in blood and tissues, leading to a surge in further research. It was during this time that a Swedish researcher, Lars Ernster, drew attention to CoQ10’s role as a free radical-scavenging antioxidant. Today a multitude of research supports CoQ10’s health benefits.
As a result of the overwhelmingly positive reports from studies conducted since CoQ10’s discovery, the Japanese were the first to approve widespread use of CoQ10, granting market approval for it in 1974. From 1974 to 1982, CoQ10 use in Japan grew rapidly until it was one of the most widely used products in the Japanese pharmaceutical industry. It is still widely used today, and has a long history of safe use. In “An Introduction To Coenzyme Q10” by Peter H. Langsjoen, M.D., F.A.C.C., he lists the substantial amount of scientific evidence that supports CoQ10’s benefits. “Internationally, there have been at least nine placebo controlled studies on the treatment of heart disease with CoQ10: two in Japan, two in the United States, two in Italy, two in Germany, and one in Sweden. All nine of these studies have confirmed the effectiveness of CoQ10 as well as it’s remarkable safety. There have now been eight international symposia on the biomedical and clinical aspects of CoQ10 (from 1976 through 1993). These eight symposia comprised over 3000 papers presented by approximately 200 different physicians and scientists from 18 countries.”
“The majority of the clinical studies concerned the treatment of heart disease and were remarkably consistent in their conclusions: that treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions.” There are many CoQ10 supplements on the market today, and it can be difficult to choose the best brand and dosage. CoQ10 is a fat-soluble substance, which means it is more easily absorbed and used by your body in the presence of fat. CoQ10 supplements that include lecithin or another dietary fat will be more effective, and CoQ10 in a softgel form should be in an oil base, usually soybean oil. The dosage most commonly used in research is 30 mg, but higher doses are optimal and may be required to maintain optimal levels as we age. Always remember to consult your health practitioner before taking dietary supplements if you have current health problems or are taking prescription medication.
Now Foods continues to be a leading supplier of high-quality, low cost CoQ10 products. In 1999 and 2003 NOW Foods CoQ10 was voted the best-selling brand in health food stores nationwide, earning the Vity Award from Vitamin Retailer magazine. NOW carries eight different effective potencies of CoQ10, ranging from 30mg to 400mg, in lonzenges, softgels, and vegetable capsules. Many of our formulas are complexed with other synergistic nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, lecithin, and hawthorn for greater absorption and efficiency.
Dr. Verghese, M.D. Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator Fact Sheet
December 07, 2005 12:16 PM
Dr. Verghese, M.D. Liver Detoxifier & Regenerator Fact Sheet Neil E. Levin, CCN, DANLA 02/10/05
LIKELY USERS: People with exposure to toxins that stimulate liver activity; People with exposure to infections that may have damaged liver tissue
KEY INGREDIENT (S): Milk Thistle extract (Silymarin), Glutathione, NAC, Bupleurum extract, Grape Seed Extract, Dandelion Root extract, Artichoke Leaf, Schisandra and about a dozen additional herbs, along with synergistic ingredients
MAIN PRODUCT FEATURES: This formula was developed by a physician based on his clinical experience.
Artichoke leaf has antioxidant properties and restores healthy growth to liver cells.
Bupleurum may promote normal cell growth, immune function and is a staple of Chinese liver formulas. Dandelion Root may serve as a natural down-regulator of inflammatory chemicals in the body. NAC supports liver Glutathionestores (antioxidant, detoxifier, heavy metal chelator). Schisandra protects liver cells from toxins and may help to regenerate damaged cells. Milk thistle’s antioxidant Silymarin improves liver function tests and protects liver cells against oxidative damage. It also protects liver cells by blocking and removing toxins from the liver. Silymarin aids in regenerating injured liver cells and blocks fibrosis.
OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES: Samuel Verghese, M.D. (AM), Ph.D., BCIA-EEG, DAAPM, holds a degree in Alternative Medicine and specializes in Nutritional, Ayurvedic and other Alternative Health Solutions. He is certified as a BCIA-EEG Associate Fellow.
AMOUNT TO USE: Three or more capsules a day, preferably with meals.
COMPLEMENTARY PRODUCTS: Antioxidants (supports liver detoxification), Alpha Lipoic Acid, EGCg Green Tea Extract, Astragalus, medicinal mushrooms (shiitake, reishi), SAM-e (may improve bile flow and promotes methylation to detoxify chemicals), TMG, lecithin, thymus glandular extract, Cordyceps.
AVOID: acetaminophen, alcohol, iron supplements (also red meat, fortified flour)
CAUTIONS: This formula should not be used by pregnant women, nursing mothers children or those with liver problems unless recommended under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Please notify your physician about your supplement use if you are using any drugs! Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
1. Salmi HA, Sarna S. Effect of silymarin on chemical, functional and morphological alterations of the liver. A double-blind controlled study. Scand J Gastroenterol 1982;17:517–21.
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid
October 13, 2005 05:08 PM
Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid
Alpha-lipoic Acid––the "Ideal Antioxidant"
The antioxidant potential of a substance is based on a number of criteria, including:
The "ideal antioxidant" would meet all the above criteria. Very few antioxidants do, yet a particular antioxidant with but a few of the characteristics is still valuable and effective. Vitamin E, for example, is one of the most important dietary antioxidants, yet it only works in fatty environments such as cell membranes.
As a team, ALA and DHLA come close to the ideal, for the following reasons:1,2,3
DHLA-regenerates vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione
Within the cell, antioxidants work as a team to keep free radicals from damaging cell structures. In order to neutralize a free radical, an antioxidant such as vitamin C must give up an electron, which mean it becomes oxidized. Before it can function as an antioxidant once again, it must be regenerated back to its "reduced" form, by gaining an electron to replace the donated electron. For this, it needs the help of other antioxidants. Vitamin C, vitamin E and glutathione are key antioxidants that can be generated by cycling between their oxidized and reduce forms. This is necessary to maintain the balance between oxidation and its reverse––the neutralization of free radicals by antioxidants.
DHLA is an essential component in the interaction between these antioxidants.4 Studies show that addition of alpha-lipoic acid to liver tissues results in increased vitamin C levels. It has been found that DHLA is responsible for regenerating vitamin C, which in turn regenerates vitamin E.3 DHLA also converts glutathione from its oxidized form back into its free radical scavenging reduced form.3,5 The ALA/DHLA pair is thus vital for prevention of "oxidative stress," which occurs which the balance is tipped in favor of oxidation in cells.4 DHLA helps preserve antioxidants in both the watery cell interior and the fatty structure of cell membranes.6 Evidence from animal studies suggests that DHLA protects the brain against free radical damage.7
Alpha-lipoic acid is a key factor in the cellular process that metabolizes glucose to produce energy for cellular functions. The importance of ALA’s role in blood sugar metabolism is evidenced in studies on ALA and type-2 diabetes. In a small pilot study, 13 people with type-2 diabetes showed improved utilization of glucose in muscle tissue in response to intravenous administration of ALA.8 In a four week controlled multicenter trial, 74 people with type-2 diabetes took ALA in oral doses of 600, 1200 or 1800 mg per day. After 4 weeks, the normal lowering of blood sugar levels in response to insulin improved.9 In vitro studies have shown that ALA has a positive effect on insulin-stimulated uptake of glucose by muscle cells.10
1. Packer, L.. Witt, E., Tritschler, H. Alpha-lipoic acid as a biological antioxidant. Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1995;19(2):227-50.
2. Suzuki, Y., et al. Thioctic acid and dihydrolipoic acid are novel antioxidants which interact with reactive oxygen species. Free Rad. Res. Comms. 15(5):255-63.
3. Biewenga, G., Haenen, G., Bast, A. The pharmacology of lipoic acid. Gen. Pharmac. 29(3):315-31.
4. Serbinova, E. Maitra, I., Packer, L. The synergy between vitamin E and alpha-lipoic acid--–possible relationship against oxidative stress in vivo. Life Chemistry Reports 1994;12:17-21.
5. Bast, A. Haenen, G. Interplay between lipoic acid and glutathione in the protection against microsomal lipid peroxidation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1988; 963:558-561.
6. Kagan, V. et al. Dihydrolipoic acid––a universal antioxidant both in the membrane and in the aqueous phase. Reduction of peroxyl, ascorbyl and chromanoxyl radicals. Biochem Pharmacol 1992;44(8):1637.
7. Prehn, J. et al. Dihydrolipoate reduces neuronal injury after cerebral ischemia. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 1992;12(1):78-87.
8. Jacob, S. et al. Enhancement of glucose disposal in patients with type-2 diabetes by alpha-lipoic acid. Arzneimittelforschung 1995;45(8):872-4.
9. Jacob, S et al. Oral administration of RAC-alpha-lipoic acid modulates insulin sensitivity in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus: a placebo-controlled pilot trial. Free Radical Biology & Medicine 1999;27(3/4):309-14.
10. Estrada, D. et al. Stimulation of glucose uptake by the natural coenzyme alpha-lipoic acid/thioctic acid: participation of elements of the insulin signaling pathway. Diabetes 1996;45(12):1798-804.
ENADA® NADH 5mg - NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
August 03, 2005 05:23 PM
NEW PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENTENADA® NADH 5mg
Energy-Rich Coenzyme—Convenient 60-tab Size!
1 tablet contains:
Suggested Use: 1 tablet daily in the morning, on an empty stomach, with water. Wait 30 minutes before eating. Or, take as recommended by your health care professional.
PYCNOGENOL - ITS REMARKABLE BENEFITS
July 13, 2005 12:26 PM
PYCNOGENOL - ITS REMARKABLE BENEFITS
New to North America but not to Europe, this natural product is considered safe and effective in the treatment of various diseases and for the maintenance of optimal health. This family of bioflavonoids is non-toxic, water soluble and highly bioavailable. Because proanthocyanidins scavenge free radicals so effectively, they have shown remarkable curative effects. Extensive research demonst rates that proanthocyanidins are such potent antioxidants, they find and neutralize free radicals with great rapidity, allowing cells to regenerate rather than deteriorate. Specific actions associated with Pycnogenol include:
PYCNOGENOL SPECIFICALLY TARGETS: SKIN AND ELASTICITY
Testing has suggested that Pycnogenol flavonoids exhibited an anti-enzyme effect which prevented the break down of collagen and elastin, the very compounds which keep skin firm and inhibit the formation of wrinkles.7
TUMOR RELATED DISEASES
Unquestionably, studies have shown that Pycnogenol has the ability to inhibit cellular mutations.8 The implications of this finding for anyone suffering from tumor related disease which originates from cellular malfunctions should not be underestimated.
The potential of Pycnogenol to pr e vent cellular deterioration or uncontrolled growth is profound to say the least. Several investigations have shown that if it is taken on a daily basis, Pycnogenol benefits people suffering from cardiovascular diseases and breast tumors.9 In addition, double blind placebo controlled studies have indicated that patients suffering from circulatory insufficiencies and diseases of the lymph system showed significant improvement in pain control and vessel elasticity after taking these flavonoids.10
Subsequent experiments concluded that the family of bioflavonoids contained in Pycnogenol is capable of improving night vision and initialing “a rapid and marked improvement of visual performances after glare in comparison with control group.”11
WATER RETENTION AND EDEMA
Pycnogenol is particularly valuable for anyone who suffers from water retention and edema. Studies at the Institute of Physiology at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences confirm that this biofl avonoid compound stabilized capillary walls, which decreased fluid leakage into tissues which causes swelling and pressure.12
WHAT PATHOLOGICAL CONDITIONS RESPOND TO PYCNOGENOL?
The bioflavonoids found in Pycnogenol have been clinically indicated in the following pathological conditions:
PYCNOGENOL HAS THERAPEUTIC VALUE FOR THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:
PYCNOGENOL CAN CROSS THE BLOOD-BRAIN BARRIER
One of the most significant advantages of this flavonoid compound is its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. Consequently, it acts as an invaluable therapeutic agent in treating depression, chronic fatigue, insomnia or loss of memory.
ANTI-ULCER FORMING PROPERTIES
Other scientific tests have indicated that proanthocyanidins also posses anti-ulcer properties and may work to prevent the formation of undesirable chemicals in the stomach.13
THE ACTION OF SILYMARIN ON THE LIVER
July 12, 2005 09:56 AM
THE ACTION OF SILYMARIN ON THE LIVER
The liver is responsible for detoxifying the body. Anytime we ingest potentially harmful chemicals, which include drugs or alcohol, liver cells must filter out these compounds. Michael Moore, author of Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West says:
“When the liver is overworked, or unequal to the task our brain gives it, its blood vessels enlarge, the fluids move m o re slowly through it as it tries to increase its working area; it gets enlarged and congested.” He goes on to say that Milk Thistle improves the quality of blood proteins which help move toxins out of the blood.
The chemical components of Silymarin are referred to as true hepato-protective or “liver friendly.” The capability of Milk Thistle to protect the liver and enhance its function is due largely to its ability to inhibit certain factors, which result in liver damage. The most significant of these are leukotrienes or free radicals. What makes the silymarin compounds in Milk Thistle even more impressive is that while they protect, they also stimulate liver protein synthesis.2 This explains why even an injured liver can regenerate tissue more rapidly when Silymarin is present.
Leukotrienes, which harm liver tissue, are compounds which are created when oxygen transfers to a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Silybum compounds can help to inhibit the formation of these molecules. The flavonoid-like compounds which comprise silymarin have two specific actions on the liver:
1. Silymarin binds hepatocyte (liver cell) membranes which protects them from the potential damage of environmental toxins, (such as the death cap mushroom), foreign chemicals, endogenous poisons and free radicals.
2. Silymarin enters the liver cells and promotes their ability to produce certain enzymes which are vital to liver health. This action can speed the healing of liver cells from injury or disease. By enhancing the production of these enzymes, liver cell regeneration is also stimulated.
The important role the liver plays in maintaining health
June 21, 2005 04:56 PM
Most practitioners who practice various forms of natural medicine know the important role the liver plays in maintaining health in general. The liver is involved in thousands of biochemical mechanisms making it second only to the brain in importance and complexity. Natural health practitioners are also acutely aware of the detrimental effects on the liver of modern living, with its chemicals, excessive fat intake, pesticides, hormones, and stress. This suggests that we as a culture are in need of liver support. History suggests, and modern research is supporting, that botanicals have an important role to play in supporting a healthy liver.
The liver has an almost miraculous ability to biochemically transform, break down, store, eliminate, and build up the plethora of chemicals to which it is exposed. Many botanicals have a very specific effect of modifying these biochemical processes. Some botanicals can enhance the liver?s phase I (cytochrome P450) and phase II (glutathione conjugation) detoxification processes, promote the flow and production of bile (one means of eliminating toxins), inhibit the attachment of viruses or chemical antagonists to hepatocytes, strongly enhance the liver?s powerful antioxidant systems, or promote the regeneration of liver tissue-the liver being the only organ in the body except the skin able to regenerate itself. Many botanicals have been used historically for promoting liver health. Today, modern research is confirming these benefits while shedding light on their mechanisms of action. Following is an overview of a number of these botanicals.
Milk Thistle Silybum marianum
The extract of the seeds of milk thistle is perhaps the most well researched of all the liver supportive botanicals. Part of its benefit has been in its ability to scavenge free radicals and to stimulate the regeneration of hepatocytes. In Germany, it is the botanical extract of choice for use in supporting a healthy liver. Typically, an extract yielding a minimum of 70% silymarin (a specific class of flavonoids) is used clinically at a dose of approximately 420 mg of the extract daily (Morazzoni and Bombardelli 1995).
Schizandra Schisandra chinensis
Schizandra, known as bei wu wei zi in China, is one of the most widely used tonics of Chinese herbalism. Its original use was to support the health of the heart, kidneys and lungs and as a longevity tonic. Modern research has focused attention on its role as an adaptogen and for supporting a healthy liver. Adaptogens are substances that positively affect overall health by reducing stress mechanisms which can contribute to a number of biochemical reactions that can be detrimental to health. While the mechanism of action of adaptogens has not been definitively determined, the existing literature suggests they work endocrinologically through the pituitary and adrenals and substantially reduce the negative effects that stress has on the system (Wagner et al. 1994). In China and Japan, the modern use of schizandra has focused on its benefit in those in need of liver support. In one review of its pharmacological activity, stabilization of liver enzymes was reported in more than 5,000 people. The benefits were experienced within 20 days of administration of schizandra with 75% of patients returning to normal values (Chang and But 1986). A limited number of controlled studies similarly reported on the beneficial effects of the equivalent of 1.5 grams of schizandra for reducing elevated liver enzymes (Liu 1991). There are three primary mechanisms of action of schizandra reported with regards to its ability to support a healthy liver: 1) its ability to reduce lipid peroxidation induced by a number of different antagonists (antioxidant activity); 2) induction of hepatomicrosomal cytochrome P-450; 3) stimulation of protein biosynthesis and liver glycogen (Liu 1991). Such mechanisms make schizandra ideal as a liver-supportive botanical that is underutilized in the West.
Bupleurum Bupleurum chinense, B. falcatum
Bupleurum, also known as chai hu in China, is perhaps the most important of liver-supportive botanicals in China and Japan, and, like schizandra, is far underutilized in the United States, except by traditional Chinese herbalists. Traditionally, it has been regarded as an herb that helps to normalize the function of the liver from a traditional Chinese perspective. Modern research has identified a group of compounds known as saikosaponins that strongly support liver health (in humans and rats). Mechanisms of action specifically regarding liver health identified for bupleurum include anti-inflammatory activity, as well as its ability to stimulate the production and release of bile, thus facilitating the detoxification process (Wagner et al. 1996).
Sho-Saiko-To Minor Bupleurum
In Chinese herbalism, herbs are seldom prescribed singularly. Rather they are combined according to very sophisticated principles of formulation based on the differential diagnosis of the patient. One of the most widely used and researched botanical formulas for the health of the liver used in China and Japan is Sho-Saiko-To, known in China as Xiao Chai Hu Tang (Minor Bupleurum). This classic formula consists of the following botanicals: ginger, scutellaria, jujube, ginseng, licorice, pinellia and bupleurum. It is widely used throughout Asia for supporting liver health and currently is the subject of phase II clinical trials at Sloan Kettering. The formula with its main ingredient, bupleurum, was first introduced in Japan by Chinese Buddhist priests between the 6th and 8th centuries. Modern research suggests that Sho-Saiko-To modulates the immune response, specifically in addition to other mechanisms, by increasing levels of interleukin and interferon (Huang et al. 2001).
To the same extent that herbs are seldom used singularly in Chinese herbalism, they are similarly used within a broader context that incorporates dietary and other lifestyle changes to support the botanicals. In my clinic, I routinely recommend that patients eliminate alcohol, coffee, sugar, and refined foods from their diet and eat whole grain foods, fish, and several servings of green vegetables daily along with their herbal program. For these individuals this is a simple program to follow, and many are able to live a normal productive life with a greater level of liver health. Such a liver-supportive program must be maintained as a way of life to lessen the burden that modern society and exogenous factors put on our livers.
The herbal world offers a potential natural health care approach that focuses on protecting and restoring the health and functioning of the liver. Both traditional experience and modern investigation suggest that botanicals can play a role in world health, specifically in promoting liver health.
The use of botanicals should be used under the guidance of a qualified health care professional. The combined use of conventional and natural therapies may not be appropriate. Before attempting to combine such therapies, discuss your therapeutic options with your primary health care provider.
Chang HM, But PH. 1986. Pharmacology and applications of Chinese materia medica. World Science. Singapore. Huang et al. Semi-quantitative analysis of cytokine mRNA expression induced by the herbal medicine sho-saiko-to (TJ-9) using a gel doc system. J Clin Lab Anal 15: 199-209. Liu GT. 1991. Pharmacological actions and clinical uses of Fructus schizandrae in recent advances in Chinese herbal drugs-actions and uses. Scientific Press Beijing. Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E. 1995. Silybum marianum (Carduus marianus). Fitoterapia LXVI (1):3-42. Wagner H, Noerr N. Winterhoff K. 1994. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine 1: 63-76. Wagner H, Bauer R, Peigen X, Jianming C, Offermann F. 1996. Chinese Drug monographs and analysis: Radix Bupleuri (chaihu). Verlag fuer Ganzheitliche Medizin Koetzting/Bayer. Wald, Germany.
Michael Tierra, L. Ac., O.M.D., is a clinician and world-renowned author of the best-selling Way of Herbs and Planetary Herbology. As product formulator for Planetary Formulas, he draws on 30 years of clinical experience to create formulas renowned for their dependability and effectiveness.
The A Team
June 14, 2005 06:04 PM
The A Team
by Gregory Meade Energy Times, October 11, 2004
Want the A Team playing to improve your health? When you accumulate enough antioxidants to help you attack the molecular marauders out to mar your well-being, you improve your chances of avoiding illness.
Nowadays you hear plenty of talk about the benefits of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are the ammunition the body uses to fight off internal damage. They offer the body the means to fight against disease but, at the same time, your body must be in the position to use them optimally. That means getting enough sleep, consistently exercising and avoiding overly processed foods. Those lifestyle habits allow your body to garner its resources and effectively implement antioxidants in its quest for well-being.
Your body has a love-hate relationship with oxidation: Can't live without it, often has trouble living with it. For instance, the production of energy in your cells requires oxidation. But the byproducts of that process, problematic molecules called free radicals, have to be chemically changed or eliminated to avoid the damage that results when they interact with other parts of the cell. Left unchecked, these molecular troublemakers can wreak havoc, oxidizing and punching holes in cell membranes and damaging other structures they contact. Antioxidant nutrients are used to defend against oxidation, quell these harmful destroyers and limit the potential harm they can cause.
For a quick glimpse of one of your basic antioxidant defenses, look in the mirror. The color in your eyes represents antioxidant protection against oxidative injury from the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. Sunlight's energy sets loose free radicals every time it enters the lenses in your eyes. Pigments absorb this radiation and, in most cases, render it harmless.
As part of your vision's defenses, two of the antioxidant pigments in your food, lutein and zeaxanthin, are deposited by your body in certain areas of your eyes-in a section called the macula as well as the lens (BJ Opthalmol 1998; 82:907-10).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are classified as carotenoids, chemical relatives of beta carotene, the antioxidant pigment that makes carrots orange, and lycopene, the anticancer red coloring found in tomatoes. These fat-soluble nutrients are also present in algae. In both your eyes and plants, these nutrients absorb the destructive ultraviolet rays that give birth to free radicals.
Studies show that consuming large amounts of these pigments lowers your risk of a common form of blindness called age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) and drops your chances of age-related cataracts. (More than 30 million people worldwide suffer from ARMD, and cataracts is the leading cause of blindness across the globe.)
When the sun's rays enter the eye, lutein and zeaxanthin absorb and filter out dangerous radiation before it can injure the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina that allows us to see very fine detail. Otherwise, over time, as the macula deteriorates, our vision worsens. In addition, some researchers believe these nutrients help lower your chances of cancer.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, corn, collard greens, green beans, egg yolks, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, kiwi and honeydew melons. The petals of yellow flowers like marigolds and nettles are also rich in these antioxidant nutrients.
You can also increase your chances of better sight as you age by consuming sulphoraphane, an antioxidant found in broccoli. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found that sulphoraphane takes part in the body's efforts to shield eye cells from free radicals generated by ultraviolet light (Proc Natl Acad Sci 2004; 101(28):10446-51).
The researchers who performed this study believe that unlike the antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and natural vitamin E, sulphoraphane acts as an "indirect" antioxidant. That means that while those two vitamins are used by the body to directly defuse the harmful oxidative force of free radicals (and then must be replaced or regenerated in the cells), sulphoraphane acts indirectly, boosting the body's immunity defenses. Because of that indirect action, researchers point out, sulphoraphane lasts longer in the body and may produce a more profound, long-term antioxidant effect.
In other laboratory tests, researchers have discovered that sulphoraphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium recognized 20 years ago as the cause of debilitating stomach ulcers and often-fatal stomach cancers (Proc Natl Acad of Sci 5/28/02). This research shows that sulphoraphane is even effective against antibiotic-resistant Helicobacter. Adding to its benefits, sulphoraphane can help kill bacteria both inside and outside stomach cells; when this bacteria hides inside of cells it is particularly difficult to fight.
" We've known for some time that sulforaphane had modest antibiotic activity," says Jed Fahey, a plant physiologist at Hopkins. "However, its potency against Helicobacter, even those strains resistant to conventional antibiotics, was a pleasant surprise."
Looking for Mr. Good Diet
For the biggest bang for your antioxidant buck, combine antioxidants with good lifestyle habits. A laboratory study of the heart-healthy effects of taking supplements of the antioxidant vitamins C and natural E along with L-arginine (an amino acid) found that exercise magnifies benefits (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 5/24/04, online). The scientists who performed this study recommend exercise along with antioxidants to boost your nutritional advantage.
The box score shows that when playing with the A Team you've got the best chance of hitting an antioxidant home run.
Energize Your Life!
June 14, 2005 05:06 PM
Energize Your Life!
by Laura Weiss Energy Times, December 1, 2003
If every fatigued day leaves you wondering where your energy went, you need a personal energy makeover.
"Energy, some special kind of energy, just leaks out and I am left lacking the confidence even to cross the street," Diane Arbus, the photographer, once complained. And while Ms. Arbus tried to overcome her energetic and spiritual ups and downs with her art, you can use lifestyle changes as well as self-expression to revive your vigor.
To Sleep, Perchance to Energize
When you're looking for a boost in personal energy, you've got to get enough sleep, insists Jacob Tietelbaum, MD, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic! (Avery). Dr. Teitelbaum emphasizes that unless you "give your body eight to nine hours of sleep per night," your personal energy will never be adequate.
Studies show that getting less than six hours sleep a night hurts your mental performance and drains your energy (Sleep 3/15/03). As your sleep debt builds up, your energy drops down.
"[Our studies show] the importance of sleep as a necessity for health and well-being. Even relatively moderate sleep restriction, if it is sustained night after night, can seriously impair our neurobiological functioning," says Hans P.A. Van Dongen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Sleep and Chronobiology at Penn State.
A recent poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that Americans, on average, are getting less than seven hours of shuteye a night. That sleep deficit drains energy.
Watered Down Energy
Added to that sleep requirement, Dr. Teitelbaum stressed in an interview with Energy Times, a lack of water can deplete your personal energy.
"The number one problem is often dehydration," he says. "Make sure you stay hydrated. Although I think it's a bad idea to [obsessively] count glasses of water, you should carry a bottle of water with you, check your lips and if they feel dry drink more water." Overall, your body is about 60% water and 70% of your muscles consist of water. If you let your water levels dip too low, your muscles suffer and your energy levels dip as well. Research shows that as your body dries out, your mental processes can slow down. And the hotter the temperature, the more fluid you may lose (AIHAJ 2002; 63(2):190-8).
B Vitamins for Energy
Also important for keeping your energy up "is getting enough of the B vitamins and magnesium." And even though Dr. Teitelbaum advocates the necessity of a well-rounded multiple vitamin and mineral supplement plus an adequate diet and amino acids to get all the nutrients you need, he recommends "taking a high-level B complex. The RDAs (the government's Recommended Daily Amounts) are inadequate."
In the body, B vitamins are used for the production of energy on a cellular level. For instance, vitamin B1 (thiamine) is crucial for burning carbohydrates effectively. And vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is necessary for the body's ability to properly use B1. At the same time, vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is required for proper nerve function. The need for B12 may necessitate a supplement: Up to 30% of everyone over the age of 50 may have trouble absorbing B12 from their food (Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci 1996; 33:247). Plus, since vegetables contain very little absorbable B12, vegetarians of all ages may also require B12 supplements.
Dr. Teitelbaum also believes that taking malic acid, a nutrient derived from apples, can help. Along with the B vitamins, malic acid is used by the body in the production of energy. When taken with magnesium, malic acid has been shown to ease the pain of fibromyalgia (J Rheum 1995; 22(5):953-7), a condition characterized by fatigue and lack of energy accompanied by painful muscles and joints.
Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) represents a potential tool for controlling blood sugar and improving stamina.
According to Dr. Teitelbaum, "...Asian ginseng enhances energy, raises blood pressure and improves adrenal function...Asian ginseng has such a wide mix of health benefits that its name, Panax, comes from the Greek roots of pan (meaning 'all') and akos (meaning 'cure')-that is, 'cure all.'"
Research on people with diabetes shows that this herb may help control blood sugar levels. People who suffer what is called type 2 diabetes often eat small meals to keep their blood sugar from varying too much. (Rising and falling blood sugar can drain you of energy as well as make diabetic problems worse.)
An investigation of how another form of ginseng, American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), affects blood sugar after eating found that it tempered changes by up to 20% (Arch of Internal Med 4/00). These scientists found that folks with diabetes did best when they took the herb within two hours of a meal.
Ready to re-energize? Time to stop skimping on sleep and rushing through inadequate meals. For all of us, slowing down and giving our bodies a chance to regenerate its zip can make the big energy difference.
Ocean Treasures - For centuries, people have flocked to the sea....
June 13, 2005 10:11 AM
Ocean Treasures by Chrystle Fiedler Energy Times, January 3, 2004
For centuries, people have flocked to the sea to take advantage of its healing and restorative powers.
"The ocean is alive with energy and abundant sea life," says Susie Galvez, owner of Face Works Day Spa in Richmond, Virginia and author of Hello Beautiful (MQ Publications). "It's an abundant source. Sea products are rich in minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, all of which are known for their deeply cleansing and antibiotic properties. When we think of the sea, we think of health, invigoration, the feeling of being alive and yet peacefully calm."
"To the ancient Greeks, the image of Aphrodite rising out of the sea was beautiful because of the nutrients that the sea plants had given her," says Linda Page, ND, in Healthy Healing (Healthy Healing Publications). Today, sea plants still provide beauty benefits. "They have a complete spectrum of chelated minerals, which makes them easier to absorb, that add lustre and shine to your hair and eyes and improve skin texture and tone."
Thalassotherapy (seawater treatment) includes using salts, mud, foliage, sand and water from the sea to stimulate, hydrate and nourish the skin, making it smoother, firmer and more resilient.
"Using sea products in treatments is both restorative and detoxifying," says Galvez. "Now with modern technology, you don't have to live anywhere near the sea to take advantage of the wonderful health and wellness benefits. Your sea retreat source can be as close as your health food store."
Seaweed's Beauty Benefits
"Pollution, stress, fatigue and bad eating habits all affect the body," says Anne Mok, LaC, a certified Chinese herbalist and co-owner of Cornerstone Healing in Brooklyn, New York. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result in broken capillaries, loss of firmness, skin lesions, dry scaliness and more.
The good news, Mok says, is since seaweed is packed with easy-to-absorb proteins, vitamins, minerals and lipids, it can protect against environmental pollution and ward off aging by nourishing and moisturizing the skin. "The seawater in seaweed is similar to human plasma, so it's an ideal way to get the nutritive benefits from the sea, vitamins A, C and E, and the minerals zinc, selenium and magnesium we need through the process of osmosis. Seaweed cleanses, tones and soothes the skin and regenerates body tissues, offering a new vitality and helping to maintain a youthful appearance. It also improves circulation, which has a positive effect on local fatty overloads and helps maintain the tone of the tissue." No wonder seaweed is used to firm the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite!
Seaweed captures all the richness from the sea. "There is no genetic manipulation, fertilizer or pesticides, just the sea, light and the tides," says Mok. "[S]eaweed is ten times richer in trace elements than land plants."
Beauty aids from the sea include:
* Kelp (laminaria), a large leafy brown algae, grows along cold climate coastlines and can bring a healthy glow to skin. "Kelp powder has exfoliating properties that make it a great addition to a facial mask," Galvez adds. "It increases blood circulation and stimulates lymph production to eliminate toxins. It's also a mineral-rich body scrub for removing surface impurities."
* Crushed algae is often used in seaweed masks.
* Carrageenan, a gel extracted from Irish sea moss, is commonly used as a cosmetic thickening agent. "It's a great moisturizer that holds nutrients and water in," says Mok.
* Bladderwrack (fucus), a brown seaweed, is often used in cellulite-reducing creams to eliminate excess fluid from the skin.
A Seaweed Beauty Routine
Incorporating the benefits of seaweed into your beauty routine is easy. You can "purchase dehydrated seaweed at a natural food store to make your bath a mini-ocean," says Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt & Co). "Fill the tub to the point that you're covered when you lie down," says Dr. Page. "The idea is to make your body sweat, to open your pores, release toxins and take in the sea nutrient benefits by osmosis. Boost the effect with a few drops of aromatherapy bath oils like rosemary and lavender. It'll help hold the heat in and improve your cleansing program." Rinse off and "you'll feel your skin tighten, due to the high iodine content of the seaweed," says Cox. "Your skin should also feel softer and firmer."
Seaweed and algae body wraps are ideal ways to beautify the skin, rid your body of toxins and boost well-being and health. "It starts a program of detoxification very rapidly," says Dr. Page, who has also written Detoxification: All You Need to Know (Healthy Healing Publications). "It's amazing how it encourages weight loss and cellulite reduction." "Seaweed wraps are the most effective cellulite treatments," says Mok. "Seaweed and seaweed mud, especially, stimulate the cells to improve cellular activity and increase the efficiency of lymphatic fluid, which helps break down toxic deposits that can result in cellulite.
"It's excellent conditioning for the skin and leaves it soft and glowing," says Claudia Spagnolo, spa director for the DeFranco Spagnolo Salon and Day Spa in Great Neck, New York.
Revitalize With Sea Salts
Sea salts contain minerals-such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine-that have a delightfully rejuvenating and revitalizing effect on skin.
"Sea salts enhance the youthful healthy glow of the skin," says Spagnolo. "It creates a deep pore cleansing from shoulder to toe, removing rough, dry skin, helping to purify and slough off dead skin cells. It's great for an all-over exfoliation, and leaves the skin smooth and refreshed."
"Sea salt has wonderful drawing properties, promoting the removal of toxins from the skin," says Galvez, author of Ooh La La Effortless Beauty (MQ Publications). "It's high in mineral content and nourishes the body."
Sea salt also "guards against moisture loss, so it's ideal for dry skin and helps prevent aging," says Mok. In addition, it can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis. Often done before a massage in spas, a "salt glow," which uses a vigorous scrub of coarse sea salts mixed with essential oils, rejuvenates and revitalizes the skin. Sea salt is also readily available at health food stores so you can do the same at home.
Mineral-rich Dead Sea salts pack a salinity of 32%. "When bathing with Dead Sea salt you don't even need to use soap because the minerals remove redundant fat and dirt," says Mok. Dead Sea minerals are often used in shampoos, conditioners and shower gels. "Galvez adds, "Dead Sea mud mineral and vitamin content is very close to that of humans, and therefore treatments using the mud penetrate deeply."
Ah! Home Spa
It's easy to turn your bathroom into an oasis of calm and create a private spa to call your own.
For a sea cure bath, mix together half a pound of sea salt and a pound of baking soda, add to a warm water bath and soak until the water has cooled, says Mok. "It's excellent for soothing itchy and dry skin and helps detoxify by pulling out toxic waste from the pores." Aromatherapy oils, like lavender, make your soak in the tub even more relaxing and luxurious. "It's a great way to de-stress after a long day at work."
A seaweed wrap can release water retention and leave legs looking their sleekest, notes Mok. "Just soak legs in a bath of warm water and Epsom salts for 5 minutes, then pat dry. Apply a seaweed mask and wrap legs with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Relax for 15 minutes. Remove towel and plastic wrap and rinse."
You can also try a sea salt rub by mixing two cups of kosher salt with one cup of olive oil until it forms a thick paste. (Be careful: the oil is slippery.) "While in the tub or shower, massage it into your skin using long strokes toward the heart, starting with your feet," says Galvez. Rinse off with warm water, use a soft washcloth to remove any residue, pat dry and apply moisturizer. "Your skin will be silky smooth and wonderfully hydrated." To create a spa environment at home, details make all the difference. "Think of your favorite beach get-a-way and go with an ocean theme," says Cox. "Include something for each of the senses." For example, put on a CD that has nature sounds. To capture the color of the water, use sea-colored towels. For scent, light candles that produce the scents of flowering plants (such as plumeria or citrus). Add "ocean" fragrance beads. When taking a bath, "use shells to scoop out sea salts or dehydrated sea weed and put them around the tub as decoration," says Cox. Smooth on a moisturizer with a sea-scented lotion when you finish your spa treatment.
When you make an at-home sea spa experience a regular part of your routine, you reap a bounty of beauty and health benefits. "In just 20 minutes you can have a mini-vacation," says Galvez. "It's cleansing and relaxing."
Then you will be ready to dive back into reality with renewed zest.
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide
June 11, 2005 03:54 PM
Summer Sports Nutrition Guide by Joyce Dewon Energy Times, June 18, 2004
If you're hooked on exercise you're probably just as hooked on using top-notch equipment when you work out. Those who are serious about staying in shape buy the best running shoes, carefully pick out the best bikes and tread on durable treadmills. But do you pay just as much attention to your nutrition?
Scientists who have studied exercise have found that what you eat before, during and after workouts is crucial to maintaining your health, getting into shape and staying fit. To achieve your best athletic performance without getting injured or sick depends on optimum nutrition. When you carefully plan what to feed your exercised body, it rewards you by feeling and looking better.
Short 'n Sweet
If you thought long exercise sessions were the only ways to get decent exercise benefits, take notice: small doses of exercise during the week can go a long way. " The important thing, apparently, is just do it," says Howard D. Sesso, ScD, author of an American Heart Association study on exercise and heart disease. In his study, exercisers demonstrated that several short sessions of exercise were as good for the body as a single long session (Circ 8/00; 102:975-80). " Short sessions lasting 15 minutes long appear to be helpful,"Dr. Sesso explains. Even walking about three miles per week, which is a moderate level of exercise, lowers your risk of heart disease by 10%.
Some people glorify in working up a sweat; others curse the dampness. But putting in extra effort in even short bursts of activity pays off: experts have found that intense exercise burns more calories than more relaxed sessions, more effectively reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. In addition, it stimulates production of human growth hormone, which offsets some of the effects of aging (Exp Biol Med 2004 Mar; 229(3):240-6).
But don't go crazy if you haven't worked out in a long time. The intensity of the workout should match your physical fitness. According to the American Heart Association, when people exercise at a comfortable pace, their heart rate and level of exertion stay within a safe range, but still high enough to benefit their health. Strenuous activities, for those who can handle them, produce the most physiological bang for the jog. But brisk walking within your own level of fitness still offers significant benefits.
Feeding Your Muscles
When you exercise, you work and develop your muscles, which are made primarily out of protein. Despite this fact, many exercise experts have advocated high-carb diets for athletes. But, as John Ivy, PhD, and Robert Portman, PhD, point out in their book The Performance Zone (Basic Health), "[While] there is no doubt that aerobic athletes require more carbohydrate than strength athletes...we are now discovering that the addition of protein to a carbohydrate supplement offers significant benefits to aerobic athletes."
That is why researchers believe that consuming plenty of protein along with carbohydrates offers the best fitness benefits. Protein helps fuel activity more efficiently and aids in recovery after a session at the gym, allowing your body to repair muscle damage and build up muscle fibers.
During exercise, you break down muscle tissue. It is during recovery, after your exercise session ends, that muscles are rebuilt. At the same time, other cellular processes take place that adapt the body to working out.
According to Ivy and Portman, timing your intake of nutrients after exercise is crucial: "The ability of the muscle machinery to regenerate itself decreases very rapidly after a workout, so that the nutrients consumed more than 45 minutes after exercise will have far less impact in helping the muscles regenerate than nutrients consumed earlier."
Stresses and Tears
Engaging in athletics can cause microscopic muscle tears. These tears can cause a range of problems that, when you exercise excessively, can cause pain and injury.
Inflammation is the body's response to cellular damage. The damaged area can swell as the body sends white blood cells and other cells to repair the injured area. Unfortunately, the swelling can further damage the muscle cells.
Since inflammation can take 24 hours or more to cause the collection of cells in the injured area, it can be a day or two before the resulting muscle soreness reaches its peak painfulness and then starts to subside.
Cortisol, a hormone produced when you exercise strenuously, which can result in muscle fiber damage. Cortisol boosts protein breakdown, so it can be used to fuel muscle movement. But the more protein breaks down, the more potential exists for muscle fiber injury. Free radicals are caustic molecules that are created when the mitochondria (small structures in cells) create energy; these marauders can also cause microscopic shredding of muscle strands. As you increase your use of energy during exercise, you simultaneously increase the production of free radicals. This collection of free radicals can outstrip the body's antioxidant defenses, leading to extensive muscle damage and dampening of the immune system.
All of these cellular events can make you sore. They are also the reasons that athletes who overdo it day after day are liable to come down with nagging colds and a variety of infections.
Your muscles use different substances for fuel depending on what you ask them to do. Lift a heavy weight and muscles recruit two processes called the creatine phosphate system and glycolysis to generate a large amount of quick energy. These are known as anaerobic types of energy production.
But if you jog, swim, bike or perform any other aerobic activity, the cells use oxygen in what is called cellular respiration to supply energy to working muscles.
When you exercise aerobically for extended periods of time, the energy available is generally limited by how much oxygen your body is capable of taking in and supplying to the muscles, where it takes part in energy production. In athletic circles, this upper limit is known as your VO2max.
The carbohydrates your body burns for energy during aerobic activity are taken from blood sugar and carbohydrate reserves called glycogen. (The muscles store glycogen, as does the liver.) During a workout session, your glycogen supply is limited to what is stored with your muscles. But blood glucose can be boosted by carbohydrate drinks, energy gels or bars.
Most people who work out have enough glycogen and blood sugar to fuel moderate aerobic activity for about two hours. After that, the body turns mostly to fat and protein stores to fuel exercise.
Fat Into the Fire
In contrast to the body's quickly diminishing supply of glycogen and blood sugar, fat can last for hours and hours of exercise. According to Portman and Ivy, a 200-pound man with 15% body fat has, theoretically, enough fat energy to run from Washington DC down to Miami Beach-and still has enough energy left over to jump into the ocean.
But using fat for energy is complicated; fat is stored in fat tissue and not readily available to working muscles. Plus, to burn fat for energy, the body needs carbohydrate-it cannot burn fat all by itself. What's more, the conversion of fat into energy doesn't go as quickly as carb conversion.
Protein is also used for energy when carbs run low. But the more you use protein for energy, the more you risk soreness as muscle fibers break down.
Prepare to Energize
To maximize your energy during exercise and minimize soreness, Portman and Ivy recommend some simple nutritional steps:
Taking protein and carbs while working out can limit muscle damage and curtail soreness. Carbs apparently drop your cortisol levels, and thereby limit muscle injuries linked to this hormone. While the mechanism that helps protein limit muscle soreness is not completely understood, it is possible that taking in protein while working out keeps the body from shredding muscle tissue in search of fuel.
Supplements that contain antioxidants such as natural vitamin E and vitamin C (Portman and Ivy think you should take these during exercise) may limit free radical damage to muscle fibers.
Muscle Reconstruction Plan
If you want to help your exercise plan make you stronger, you should focus your after-exercise sports nutrition plan on these steps:
The protein part of the equation is vital: don't merely indulge in only carbs after exercising. A recent study found that while carbs could help muscles rebuild, adding protein can make a big difference in improving your fitness (J App Phys 2/04).
This combination of nutrients stimulates the pancreas so that it releases insulin. The release of insulin is the key, initial step that sets off a cascade of physiological events that speeds muscle recovery. Although many people think of insulin as an undesirable hormone-if you never exercise, too much insulin may help drive your blood sugar down and cause other problems-for exercisers, this hormone plays a crucial function in benefiting from exercise.
By eating carbohydrate and protein soon after working out and stimulating insulin, according to Ivy and Portman, you help your body boost its synthesis of protein by:
Drinking for Exercise The most obvious nutrient you lose during intensive exercise is water in your perspiration. However, that perspiration also contains an array of minerals known as electrolytes. So, for optimal performance and health, experts recommend you replace both the water and its minerals.
Merely drinking water-instead of electrolyte-filled sports drinks-during prolonged aerobic activity can be dangerous. It leaves you vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, which can occur when your blood levels of sodium and other electrolytes drop, but your blood volume stays steady or increases because you drink lots of water.
According to Edmund Burke, PhD, in his book Optimal Muscle Performance and Recovery (Avery), one out of four athletes who seek medical attention after a long race are suffering hyponatremia.
" Typically," he says, "conscientious athletes get in trouble because they adhere too diligently to one recommendation: the need to drink lots of fluids. They tend to ignore another recommendation: The need to keep electrolytes up...for most endurance athletes the real problem is drinking too much water." Dr. Burke warns that you can possibly suffer hyponatremia even if you don't drink a lot of water.
Signs of hyponatremia can be similar to those of heat exhaustion. But, while resting and cooling down can help alleviate heat exhaustion, that doesn't help hyponatremia. " To protect yourself against hyponatremia, start by paying attention to how much you sweat," Dr. Burke says. If your sweat seems very salty, burns your eyes or leaves an evident, white residue on your skin, you may be losing a great deal of sodium and should be diligent about eating salty foods. " You can also make sure you're getting enough sodium by drinking sports drinks instead of plain water during long (exercise) events," Dr. Burke notes.
Of course, no matter what you decide to eat or drink while exercising, the most important factor for your well-being is to get out to the gym, onto the track, or just on to the sidewalk, and do something, even if you only want to go out for a walk. No matter how old you are or what kind of shape you're in, you'll benefit from exercise.
" It's solid evidence that across-the-board declines occur when people stop exercising," says Charles Emery, PhD, professor of psychology at Ohio State University (Health Psychology 3/04).
Don't decline or remain supine. Let your fitness climb.
June 10, 2005 04:08 PM
Basic Detox by Harriet Epstein , February 4, 2002
Basic Detox By Harriet Epstein Trying to stay healthy and clean in a dirty world can prove a difficult task. The rise of modern industry and agriculture has meant the widespread accumulation of toxins in our environment that can cause health problems.
As Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin point out in their book The Road to Immunity (Pocket), "Fat soluble chemicals are readily absorbed by the body but are difficult to excrete. To be excreted, they must first be enzymatically converted into water-soluble substances. Some of them can't be converted at all."
Bock and Sabin point out that a 1990 survey by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that looked at people's tissues found that everyone the agency examined had styrene (a chemical used to make plastic) and xylene (a paint and gasoline solvent) stored in their bodyfat.
The toxins that you encounter every day are not only present in air and water, but also may be found in food and medicines. If we eat beef that's been exposed to pesticides, those chemicals may be shunted into our bodyfat. Pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables may end up in a similar place.
To cope with chemicals, the human body has evolved methods for detoxifying. When we breathe out we often release inhaled toxins. Other toxins are purged through urine, feces and sweat.
One of the chief organs responsible for cleansing the body is the liver. This organ utilizes a pair of chemical pathways for breaking down and eliminating toxins. In our hectic, industrialized world, this flow of toxins can overwhelm the liver's ability to detoxify. In addition, the dual processes the liver uses to eliminate noxious substances may become unbalanced, allowing toxins produced by one pathway to build up to dangerous proportions.
Once liver function falters, toxic havoc ensues. Toxins may remain in the body, often stored indefinitely in bodyfat. The body's detoxifying systems may be swamped with toxins.
In protecting the liver and enhancing its detox functions, many naturopathic practitioners recommend the herb milk thistle (silybum marianum). According to Steven Bratman, MD, and David Kroll, PhD, authors of the Natural Health Bible (Prima), milk thistle helps the liver cope with its toxic load. Consequently, milk thistle is frequently used in Europe for liver problems like jaundice.
Bratman and Kroll point out that milk thistle "is one of the few herbs that have no real equivalent in the world of conventional medicine." As Lise Alschuler, ND, medical director at the Bastyr Natural Health Clinic, told Natural Digest, "Milk thistle protects the liver against toxic damage (and) helps prevent damage to the rest of the body."
The compounds in milk thistle that help zap toxins, known as silymarin, protect the liver by binding with substances that would otherwise interact with the liver and slow its function. They also help the liver repair itself and regenerate new liver cells.
As an extra bonus, silymarin acts as an antioxidant, protecting liver cell membranes from oxidative damage.
Dandelion has a place as another traditional treatment for toning the liver and boosting the body's filtration system. The leaves are a cornucopia of antioxidants and nutrients including B vitamins, vitamins A, C and D, plus boron, silicon, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They help detoxify by acting as a mild diuretic: they cause the body to eliminate excess fluid.
But herbalists worldwide have found the compounds in dandelion root most useful for helping alleviate liver and gall bladder malfunction. (If you think you suffer these difficulties, consult your health practitioner.) Two unique and helpful natural substances found in dandelion root are chemicals called germacranolide and eudesmanolide. The root, according to the Natural Health Bible, has traditionally been used to speed up a sluggish or congested liver as well as detoxing the body by eliminating constipation. Research indicates dandelion root may stimulate bile flow (Arzneimittel -forschung 9, 1959: 376-378).
Juniper berries (Juniperus communis), may also be taken with dandelion as a diuretic. This botanical, often used to combat urinary tract problems, is also an anti-inflammatory (Phyto Res 1, 1997: 28-31).
Heavy metals rank as dangerous toxins unleashed by modern industry. As Michael Murray, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, explain in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, nickel and aluminum can "accumulate within the (body) where they can severely disrupt normal function."
Public health experts estimate at least one in five Americans has been a victim of heavy metal poisoning. Lead may be the most common villain. In your everyday life, you may be ingesting metals from your cookware, from pesticides, cigarette smoke, dental fillings, polluted fish, and chipping house paint.
Signs that you may suffer from toxicity linked to heavy metals: Unusual fatigue, Persistent headaches, Unexplained muscle pains, Anemia, Ringing in the ears or dizziness and Tremors.
Of course, if you think you suffer from heavy metal poisoning, you should see a knowledgeable health practitioner as soon as possible. Murray and Pizzorno recommend an array of precautions to protect yourself against heavy metals in the environment:
Take a daily multivitamin and mineral.
Take extra amounts of vitamin C and B-complex.
Take amino acids that contain sulfur (taurine, cysteine and methionine) and high sulfur foods like onions and garlic (or supplements). (Consult your pharmacist of health practitioner before taking individual amino acids.)
In addition, Leo Galland, MD, in his book The Four Pillars of Healing (Random House) offers these tips for keeping your digestive tract functioning at top capacity:
Take supplements of lactobacil-lus acidophilus and lactobacillus plantarum, friendly bacteria that in-habit the large intestine. These microorganisms can help break down toxins and eliminate them.
Use aspirin and ibuprofen as little as possible. They increase the permeability of the digestive system, allowing allergens and other problematic substances to enter the body.
Do not use antacids. The stomach's acidic environment is designed to kill ingested bacteria and parasites.
To fight digestive problems or heartburn, cut back on saturated fat; eat smaller meals. Chewing on calcium tablets after meals may help. Foods that can exacerbate heartburn include coffee, alcoholic beverages and very spicy foods.
Dr. Galland also recommends not eating for four hours before bed.
Environmental Free Radicals
Detoxing the body may also require taking antioxidant nutrients to fight off what are called free radicals.
Free radicals are caustic molecues thought to be involved in causing many chronic problems such as cancer and heart disease. Free radicals are created within the body and its cells every time a metabolic activity takes place. While the human body has developed its own mechanisms for defending itself against these byproducts of metabolism, exposure to pollution, radiation and other toxins may overburden the body's free radical burden. Scientists believe that taking extra antioxidant nutrients like vitamins C and E and carotenoids (natural substances found in many vegetarian foods) may help prevent damage by free radicals.
Environmental oxidizing agents include ionizing radiation (from industry, sun, cosmic rays, x-rays) ozone and nitrous oxide (from auto exhaust) heavy metals (mercury, cadmium, lead) and cigarette smoke, along with other chemical and compounds from food, water and air. Free radicals are believed to play a role in more than sixty different health conditions, including the aging process, cancer and arteriosclerosis. (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1993;90:7915-7922).
The good news? Reducing exposure to free radicals and increasing intake of antioxidant nutrients can shrink the risk of these health problems.
"Antioxidants can't get rid of heavy metals and solvents," says Dr. Glidden, "but they do cut down on the damage they do while they're there. As toxins wander through your body, they generate metabolic reactions, resulting in free radicals. And anti-oxidants mop them up." The liver is the last line of defense in handling toxins; supplements help it regenerate itself.
The body itself does produce enzymes like Superoxide dismutase (SOD) catalase, and glutathione peroxidase which can defend against and defuse many types of free radicals.
Supplements of these compounds are also available to augment the body's supply.
These building block nutrients include the minerals manganese, zinc, and copper for SOD and selenium for glutathione peroxidase. Many vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants. Dr. Crinnion recommends a multivitamin with "a lot of B, especially magnesium."
Since chlorinated pesticides like DDT "rob the body" of B1 and Vitamin A, he says, it's a good idea to supplement these as well.
In addition, acidophilus, a beneficial bacteria that grows in the digestive tract (and found in yogurt) may restore immunity hurt by pollutants. A study on women with recurrent vaginal candidiasis found that acidophilus cut their infections by 300% (Annals Int Med 1992; 116:353-357.)
Another immunity enhancer, colostrum, a natural immune enhancer that promotes cellular repair (Food Res Intl. 1995, 28(1):9-16) can also help the immune system battle pollution.
Vitamin C vs Pollution
A study of vitamin's C's antioxidant properties, conducted by University of Buffalo epidemiologists, and presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society of Epidemiologic Research, revealed that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their blood serum have lower levels of a marker of oxidative stress.
"It is well known that oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) plays a role in arteriosclerosis, cancer, pulmonary disease and other chronic conditions," said Holger Schunemann, M.D. a research assistant professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Buffalo and lead author on the study.
"In this population, vitamin C was negatively associated with oxidative stress, suggesting it may play a role in protecting against these diseases." Vitamin C is the "greatest antioxidant," says Dr. Crinnion. "It has even been shown to clear lead from the blood."
A powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, Vitamin E scavenges free radicals protecting cells from oxidative damage. Vitamin E, "reverses toxicity of various toxic chemicals," says Dr. Walter Crinnion, "it is also a stabilizer of membranes." A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition regarding antioxidant vitamin supplementation and lipid peroxidation in smokers even indicates that an antioxidant-supplemented drink can reduce lipid peroxidation and susceptibility of LDL to oxidation in smokers and may ameliorate the oxidative stress of cigarette smoke.
Dr. Glidden recommends E preferably in the form of mixed tocopherols )If you take blood thinners, check with your health practitioner.)
Unfortunately, completely avoiding toxins in today's world is probably impossible. Civilization and toxic chemicals accompany each other hand in rubber-glove-encased hand. Still, with proper attention to nutrition and supplements to keep our bodies detoxifying, we can probably minimize health difficulties linked to these undesirables.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS - What are they good for?
June 09, 2005 09:27 AM
In 1912, Casimir Funk coined the term 'vitamine' to refer to a 'vital factor' he proposed was an essential component present in foods. His conjecture dovetailed with other research, leading to the isolation in the 1930's and 40's of the compounds we now call vitamins.
Vitamins are chemical substances which play a variety of roles in the human body. They are core components of any nutritional supplementation program.
While many people are aware of vitamins as necessary substances for good nutrition, few have a grasp of the extraordinary complexity of the roles they play in our bodies. As you'll see below, vitamins are involved in trillions of biochemical interactions every minute to keep us alive and functioning. For example, B-vitamins are converted into coenzymes which are directly necessary for the production of ATP energy from food, a process that goes on continuously in every cell in the body and which in turn fuels myriad physiological events such as muscle contraction, brain activity or tissue repair.
Source Naturals offers a full line of vitamins in bioactive forms, allowing you to tailor a nutritional supplementation plan to your individual needs.
VITAMIN A and CAROTENOIDS
Vitamin A is a generic term for a class of fat-soluble substances called retinoids, which can either be consumed preformed or synthesized by the liver from plant pigments called carotenoids (see 'Carotenoids', below). An essential nutrient, vitamin A is perhaps best known for its role in vision.
The outer segments of the rods, a type of light-sensitive cell in the retina of the eye, contain a pigment called rhodopsin (or 'visual purple') that mediates vision in dim light. Cone cells mediate color vision via three additional pigments. Both rods and cones are surrounded by pigmented epithelial cells that store vitamin A. Rhodopsin is formed from a protein called opsin and a vitamin A-dependent compound called 11-cis retinal. As light strikes the rods and cones it is absorbed by the pigment molecules, and retinal is split off from opsin. This chemical change allows an electrical impulse to be sent to the optic nerve and thus to the brain. The pigment must then be regenerated from opsin and retinal. Repeated small losses of retinal during this process require a constant replenishment of vitamin A to the eyes.
Vitamin A also plays an extremely important role in epithelial cell differentiation. Cell differentiation is the process by which a cell undergoes a change to a specialized cell type, allowing it to perform particular functions in the body. It is not yet understood precisely how vitamin A is involved in this process. One hypothesis is that it directly affects gene expression through its interaction with chromatin, a complex of DNA, RNA and protein in the cell nucleus. These interactions affect the process of transcription of DNA to messenger RNA, leading to synthesis of a specific group of cellular proteins.
Each one of us carries in our DNA a unique genetic blueprint. This genetic material is the same in every cell of our bodies. It is only because of this mysterious and magical process of differentiation that we have specialized cell types - and therefore eyes, ears, lungs and hearts.
Vitamin A is necessary, either directly or indirectly, for the healthy growth and functioning of many of our tissues and organ systems, including the eyes, the skin, the bones, the reproductive system, and the natural defenses. It is not yet known whether this requirement is due to the role of vitamin A in cell differentiation or whether there are other physiological processes for which vitamin A is essential.
Vitamin A is related to a class of nutrients called carotenoids, including alpha and beta carotene, lycopene and lutein. Carotenoids are botanical pigments whose colors range from red to orange to yellow. Some carotenoids, particularly beta carotene, can be converted into vitamin A predominantly in the intestinal mucosa and to some extent in the liver. Carotenoids are completely non-toxic; their conversion into vitamin A is well-regulated by the body, making them extremely safe sources of this essential nutrient.
In addition to their role as safe sources of vitamin A, carotenoids are powerful nutrients in their own right. Their primary claim to fame is their powerful antioxidant action, particularly against singlet oxygen. Singlet oxygen is an 'excited' ion of oxygen which, while not technically a free radical, is nonetheless highly reactive. It causes 'oxidative' reactions which can impair or destroy membranes, enzymes and DNA. It can also lead to the formation of free radicals which can cause additional damage.
Certain carotenoids such as beta carotene, because of their chemical structure, can neutralize singlet oxygen by absorbing its extra energy and dissipating it throughout the carotenoid molecule, releasing the energy as heat and converting the singlet oxygen back to 'normal' oxygen. One molecule of beta carotene can quench up to 1000 molecules of singlet oxygen.
In addition to their role as singlet oxygen quenchers, carotenes provide antioxidant protection against free radicals as well. In nature, they protect plants from photo-oxidative reactions; in humans, certain carotenoids, notably beta carotene, may help protect the skin from such reactions. Other carotenoids may provide more localized protection to particular organs. Lutein and zeaxanthin, for example, are selectively concentrated in the retina of the eye. Along with vitamins C and E, carotenes are among the most important nutrient antioxidants in the human body.
Skin Eternal - Replenish Your Skin
June 06, 2005 08:45 AM
Source Naturals is proud to introduce our new SKIN ETERNAL Cosmetic Line. Our advanced skin care products recharge and revitalize your skin. Each product features scientifically advanced nutraceuticals: nutrients and botanicals with an inborn affinity for skin. You can nourish your skin with Source Naturals’ richly emollient SKIN ETERNAL CREAM smoothed under your eyes or on your neck. Or use our light, aqueous SKIN ETERNAL SERUM. Both products gently addresses imbalances and infuse skin with visible radiance. For a luxuriant, moisturizing bath, simply add SKIN ETERNAL BATH OIL under warm running water. Whatever your individual preference, Source Naturals has a SKIN ETERNAL product that will leave your skin looking refreshed and energized.
Now available from Source Naturals®: a variety of elegant cosmetics to moisturize, smooth and tone your skin.
Your skin is a reflection of your health and well-being. To attain skin that looks truly alive, energized and refreshed, we believe a holistic approach is necessary. This includes nourishing your body with fresh, organic foods, exercising every day to motivate your mind and spirit, and eliminating unhealthy lifestyle choices. As part of this holistic approach, the Skin Eternal™ cosmetic line feeds your skin cells with scientifically advanced nutraceuticals: nutrients and botanicals with an inborn affinity for skin.
SKIN ETERNAL™ CREAM
Apply this rich and luxurious blend under and around your eyes or massage it with upward strokes onto your neck—your skin will immediately feel the difference! SKIN ETERNAL CREAM features nutrients, natural oils and plant extracts. Included are alpha lipoic acid, biotin, CoQ10, DMAE, jojoba oil, MSM, squalane, tocotrienols, and vitamin C-ester, as well as extracts of grape seed, ginkgo, ginseng, green tea, sage, marigold, and grapefruit seed.
SKIN ETERNAL™ SERUM
SKIN ETERNAL SERUM is an aqueous moisturizing serum that contains a rich blend of nutrients and plant extracts. It is easily absorbed, and immediately makes skin feel softer and replenished. SKIN ETERNAL SERUM is lightly scented with pure lavender and lemon oils, and contains nutrients and herbs unavailable in other topical preparations. These include aloe vera, alpha lipoic acid, biotin, CoQ10, DMAE, MSM, vitamins A, C-ester, D-3 and E, and chamomile. Source Naturals also offers SKIN ETERNAL DMAE SERUM.
SKIN ETERNAL™ BATH OIL
OUR NEW SKIN ETERNAL BATH OIL adds to your skin’s hydrolipic film, lightly coating your skin with nutrients. It holds moisture inside and protects your skin. Its unique formula is rich in alpha lipoic acid, DMAE, essential fatty acids, vitamins C-ester and E, plus other nutrients and plant extracts. SKIN ETERNAL BATH OIL is lightly scented with pure lavender and lemon oils. And it is hypoallergenic and contains no alpha hydroxy acids—so it can be used even on delicate, sensitive skin.
Lifestyle Tips for Healthy Skin: A Strategy for WellnessSM
Eat a Healthy Diet Low-nutrient foods, such as sugar and refined carbohydrates, will not provide the vitamins and minerals your skin needs. Choose unprocessed organic foods, high in antioxidants such as beta carotene (carrots, apricots, and squash), vitamin C (oranges and peppers), vitamin E (cold-pressed oils, nuts and seeds), selenium (tuna, garlic, onions and broccoli) and zinc (whole grains, most seafood, and onions). Essential fatty acids, such as those in oily fish, flaxseed and olive oil, are important for skin repair. Eat high-fiber fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals, and brown rice. Restrict excess sodium intake.
Key nutraceuticals can help radiate beauty from within, by supporting body systems involved with healthy, radiant skin. These nutraceuticals include alpha lipoic acid, DMAE, ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C-ester), vitamin E and grapeseed extract. Source Naturals offers you SKIN ETERNAL™ tablets with these five ingredients, to protect against free radical damage and provide cofactors for healthy skin tissue. Source Naturals SKIN ETERNAL PLUS is a Bio-Aligned Formula™, which includes these key nutraceuticals plus 30 more! It is designed to support multiple body systems: antioxidant defense, connective tissue, cell membranes, cell renewal, blood and liver cleansing, muscle and nerve function, and stress response. It is also useful to supplement with essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, flaxseed and primrose oil.
Our bodies are made up of 50-70% water, so it’s important to drink at least 1.5 liters daily. Water flushes out wastes, and acts as an internal moisturizer, keeping skin hydrated and supple. Spring water is beneficial since it contains trace minerals vital to healthy skin.
Protect Your Skin from the Sun
Avoid direct sun from 10 am to 4 pm, when ultraviolet radiation is strongest. Use sunscreen even during winter and on cloudy days. Wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses with full UV protection.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Research has shown that skin regenerates itself between 1-3 am; lack of sleep during those hours can cause skin to look dull or puffy. Taking a melatonin supplement can be helpful in supporting your body’s normal sleep cycle.
Exercise increases circulation, which delivers nutrients necessary for a clear, glowing complexion. It also burns off fat, helps eliminate toxins, and is a great stress reliever. Exercise three to five times a week until you are perspiring freely and breathing deeply.
Avoid Excessive Alcohol and Coffee
Alcohol weakens the immune system and depletes nutrients. It causes dehydration, depriving skin of moisture, and overtaxes the liver, which helps keep impurities from reaching other organs. Alcohol consumption can lead to broken or distended capillaries, especially over the nose and cheeks. Caffeine-rich beverages like coffee promote dehydration, leaving skin flaky and dry. Substitute herbal or green tea for coffee.
Smoking slows healing and regeneration, causes carbon monoxide to increase in blood, and induces free radical formation. Nicotine constricts blood vessels and reduces blood flow to skin. The benzopyrene in cigarette smoke inhibits absorption of vitamin C, which is important for collagen synthesis.
Pycnogenol Complex - The Next Generation of Antioxidant Protection
June 04, 2005 02:14 PM
If there’s one factor that has the greatest negative impact on our health, it is the damage done to our cells by free radicals. These highly unstable molecules disrupt the biochemical processes that regulate life. Although a natural product of oxygen metabolism in the body, free radicals are also produced in vast quantities by modern technology. Our bodies’ natural defenses simply have not been able to keep up with the onslaught of these dangerous products of civilization. On the other hand, technology has offered help by identifying some of nature’s most powerful weapons against free radical attack. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX is an unprecedented combination of these extremely potent plantbased antioxidants, or Plantioxidants™. Consider them your antidote to the industrial revolution.
How free radicals are formed and their effect on the body
Oxygen both makes life, and takes life. The energy that animates us comes from the biochemical reactions that burn oxygen within our cells. And though carefully regulated by the body, this biological combustion, over time, inevitably leads to cellular damage. If oxidation is not carefully controlled, tissues are damaged faster than the body can repair them. This is caused by an excess of over-reactive, electron hungry molecules called oxidants or “free radicals,” which tend to disrupt normal cellular activity. Free radicals attack a cell’s membrane and can even damage its hereditary blueprint (DNA). Since free radicals are a natural result of certain metabolic reactions, the body synthesizes several types of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize them. In addition, we get essential antioxidants from the foods we eat. Vitamins C, E and beta carotene are the ones found most often in our diet. During this century, our environment has become a perpetual source of free radical contamination, primarily from radiation and the chemical pollution in our air, water and food. Today, we are literally overwhelmed with more free radicals than our bodies are accustomed to handling. Fortunately, science has found that certain plants contain special antioxidants that are far more powerful than the vitamins we typically get in our diet. With this knowledge, Source Naturals formulated PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX, the most advanced combination of Plantioxidants available today in one product. Pycnogenol® is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima.
Natural protection against free radicals
Pycnogenol® Complex – A Cornucopia of Health Our knowledge of pine bark goes back nearly 500 years, to when the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, reported that a tea made from pine tree bark by Native Americans saved the lives of his crew who were dying of scurvy. Nutrition scientists have since isolated the extraordinary antioxidant compounds of pine bark. They have also discovered many other unique antioxidants throughout the plant kingdom. Plants have evolved bioflavonoids to protect themselves from free radical damage. One of the most abundant compounds in the plant kingdom, bioflavonoids are found in the pigments of bark, rinds, seeds, leaves and flowers.
Natural antioxidants in Pycnogenol® Complex
The active ingredients of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are derived from a diverse range of nature’s plenty: pine bark, green tea, turmeric spice, rosemary, grape seeds, milk thistle seeds, bilberries, hawthorn berries and ginkgo leaves. Each of these Plantioxidants is an exceptional free radical scavenger, and each has a tendency to concentrate in a different organ of the body, thus providing targeted protection. And since their primary function is to capture free radicals, these Plantioxidants free up vitamin C, so it can perform its many other vital functions.
Defense Plants The two headliners of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are the pine bark extract, Pycnogenol®, and an extract from grape seeds, Proanthodyn™. Their unsurpassed antioxidant activity – up to 20 times that of Vitamin C and up to 50 times that of Vitamin E – comes from a high concentration of proanthocyanidins.
Why Pycnogenol® Complex is formulated with extracts of pine bark and grape seed
These highly bioavailable flavonoids are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and can stay in the bloodstream for up to 72 hours. Few other nutritional antioxidants cross this barrier, and none do it as well. Proanthocyanidins therefore offer the brain and central nervous system unparalleled antioxidant protection. In particular, proanthocyanidins may help reduce the formation of lipofuscin, a brown waste material made of free radical-damaged proteins and fats. Over time, lipofuscin deposits form in the brain, heart, and skin. The “age” or “liver” spots that develop on the backs of some elderly peoples’ hands are made of lipofuscin. Because they’re rich in unsaturated fatty acids, cell membranes are the primary site of free radical attack. Proanthocyanidins are able to protect against both water- and fat-soluble free radicals. Also, their chemical structure is incorporated within cell membranes, making proanthocyanidins very effective in preventing damage to the cell’s interior. This is vital, because if a cell’s DNA is disrupted, it could lead to the abnormal reproduction of that cell. For many years now, Europeans have used pine bark and grape seed extracts to maintain vein and capillary health. Proanthocyanidins support the circulatory system by helping to keep collagen and elastin, the essential constituents of vessel walls, from breaking down during times of imbalance. And most importantly, proanthocyanidins can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Scientists now recognize that it’s not cholesterol itself, but the oxidation of cholesterol that can be problematic.
How Plantioxidants benefit different organs in the body
The Power of Diversity
In addition to the broad protection offered by Pycnogenol® and Proanthodyn, Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX offers an outstanding array of other Plantioxidants. Each has unique abilities to protect the body from oxidants. For several thousand years, Green Tea has been enjoyed in the Orient, not only for its taste, but also as a health tonic. Upon analysis, it contains several strong antioxidants, called Polyphenols, with exceptional free radical scavenging abilities. Polyphenols have been shown to be over 200 times more effective than vitamin E in preventing oxidative damage to brain cells. Source Naturals uses a potent extract of green tea that concentrates 2,000 pounds of fresh green tea leaves into one pound of finished product. This extract has been awarded 30 patents for its protective effects. The ancient Ginkgo Biloba tree has long been prized for its beneficial qualities. Like proanthocyanidins, ginkgo’s compounds are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and support cell membrane and capillary integrity. Its particular antioxidant constituents have been associated with superior oxygen transport to the brain. This is important because the brain uses 20% of all inhaled oxygen. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX uses a superior 50 to 1 extract, providing 24% Ginkgoflavoneglycosides and 6% Terpenoids. Bilberries were first studied for their capacity to heighten visual acuity in normal subjects under poor light conditions. In fact, to increase their night vision, RAF pilots ate bilberry jam during WW II. Its antioxidant compounds, Anthocyanosides, have an affinity for delicate eye tissues, where it quenches free radicals and supports capillary strength. Source Naturals utilizes a standardized bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosides, 80 times more potent than regular bilberry.
The wide range of natural antioxidants in Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX
Milk Thistle Seed Extract has been researched and used for over 20 years in Europe. Its antioxidant compound, called Silymarin, has a special preference for the liver. It’s one of the few nutrients that can support the liver’s natural regenerative processes. By enhancing DNA activity, liver cells can regenerate up to five times faster. Turmeric Extract contains 95% Curcumin, the active ingredient of this traditional East Indian spice. Curcumin promotes the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase, an important protector of the liver. Curcumin also increases the production and secretion of bile, which is used to remove cholesterol from the body. Quercetin has been well-researched for its free radical scavenging activity. Because of its ability to stabilize cell membranes, quercetin helps prevent damage and discomfort from reactionary (histamine- and leukotriene-related) processes in the body. Source Naturals quercetin has been isolated from plant sources. Rosemary and Hawthorn Berries both contain bioflavonoid antioxidants that have the unique ability to neutralize the hydroxyl radical, a particularly dangerous type of free radical. Hydroxyls are produced by exposure to excessive radiation and pollution from burned fossil fuels. The body has no innate defense system against it. Vitamin C is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body, so it must be frequently replenished. Since it works in conjunction with bioflavonoids, each tablet of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX contains 500 mg of vitamin C, bound to Magnesium for increased bioavailability.
A World of Help
As we better understand how free radicals affect our health and well being, it’s important that we take advantage of the wonderful protective qualities found in certain plants. These Plantioxidants provide the appropriate means to counteract the destructive effects of excessive free radicals, which have become part and parcel of modern life. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX brings the diverse and concentrated power of the plant world into your world of wellness.